The ‘Za Dobroto’ Foundation has started the #Children’s Hospitals in Bulgaria 2021 campaign in the month prior to the local government elections. Its aim is to draw attention on the inhuman conditions in the children’s hospital units. The pictures and the parents’ first-hand experience stories and their children’s nightmares are a mirror in which politicians need to take a look.
We want more people to see the state of children’s hospital wards in an EU country in the 21st century. We want everyone who was in government in the past 30 years to feel ashamed. We want to rally our society to apply pressure on the parliament and the executive government until our children receive modern healthcare in a fit environment and with proper care.
We are initiating the campaign in the elections’ month precisely because children’s healthcare is absent from election programs and platforms of all the parties and coalitions which, according to polls, will form the new parliament – the 45th National Assembly.
The coalition of GERB-SDS has not issued an election platform. For BSP (the Bulgarian Socialist Party) children’s healthcare is exhausted by providing free medicines to children up to 14 years of age. In DPS’s pre-election preamble the phrase „children’s healthcare“ is absent. It is also missing from the priorities of ‘Ima Takav Narod’ (ITN). It is absent in the management measures noted in IzpraviSe.BG’s platform. The reform of children’s healthcare is mentioned in passing in the program of Democratic Bulgaria. For some of the parties, which in theory can form the new parliament, the care for children’s health is nothing more than a reproductive and demographic issue or an encouragement to participate in sports.
Meanwhile the sick children lay in rooms with mold, rust, spider webs, dirt and cockroaches, fallen plaster, broken tiles, greasy mosaic floors, broken and crowded beds as if in the military barracks, smelly common toilets, missing faucets and showers, worn-down bedding crawling with life, missing or broken equipment. Parents sleep on chairs or don’t sleep at all for days on end as their ill baby might be hurt on the unsafe bed that should have been on the landfill long ago. Parents are on a wild run between hospitals in different cities because our society has been waiting for 40 years for a modern state multidisciplinary pediatrics hospital. Parents are eager to forget the nightmare as soon as their child is discharged. The medical staff is either discouraged, or grumpy, or has long since stopped caring about this toxic environment. Of course there are exceptions, only to have the contrast be even more painful.
In ‘Za Dobroto’ Foundation we know how full repairs of children’s hospital wards are done and how much they cost – we do them with volunteers and donations. Even though this is not out job but the responsibility of hospital managers, of municipalities and of the state. If they are not aware, we’ll let them know, we will support them. The excuse „it will break down again, it will get stolen again“ is not an argument in favor of the continuation of this outrage
If the motives of this campaign are not clear enough so far, there is more:
The stress of hospital stay can severely damage a child’s psyche for life. The treatment environment has long since become a worldwide standard in healthcare – the environment can accelerate or slow down recovery. It can make both children and adults ill. If you have been terrified of hospitals as a child, as an adult you postpone a visit to the doctor’s even if you do live in a country with an organized and humane healthcare system. That makes illness harder to treat, chronical or past treatment.
When a window is broken and not replaced quickly, inevitably another one in the building will be broken, gradually everything will be neglected, the area, the city will decay and crime and chaos will take over. The theory of the broken window describes how deterioration of a single element of the environment leads to a sense of disinterest, lack of norms and rules, lawlessness. How much worse can the children’s healthcare get?
The first stage of the Za Dobroto Project will conclude with a public event after the assembly of the new Parliament. Stay tuned.
Until then, share so that more people are aware. Send pictures and stories of your children’s hospital stay in the decrepit hospital rooms.
You can follow the testimonials in our group and on the #ZaDobroto Project’s page on Facebook.