Bulgaria’s Healthcare System May Catch up with EU Top Scorers in 50 Years

Society | March 23, 2021, Tuesday // 14:00|  views

At the current rate of healthcare development, it will take Bulgaria 50 years to catch up with the most developed countries in the European Union, said head of Bulgarian Medical Union Dr. Ivan Madzharov during a press conference at BTA titled “Non-Partisan Consensus for Accelerated Healthcare Development 2021-2025" under "Together for Better Health" initiative

He presented a study according to which life expectancy in Bulgaria has increased, but Bulgarians still live seven years less than citizens of the five largest countries in the EU.

"That is, we decide to tell everyone that our healthcare is starting to improve, but we have to offer accelerated development," Madzharov said.

At the current pace, it will take 38 years to catch up with life expectancy in the five largest EU Member States (82 years), according to the study.

"Where money is invested, mortality decreases," said the head of the BMA, and as the data for Bulgaria show,the mortality rate from cardiovascular disease, is still higher than in the largest EU countries.

In the EU, 8% of GDP is allocated for healthcare, as data for 2017 show that 4.7% of GDP in Bulgaria go for healthcare, with a slight percentage increase in 2020.

If Bulgaria steps up health spending by up to 8% of its GDP the per capita costs will increase by EUR 570, said Deyan Denev, representative of the Association of Research-Based Pharmaceutical Manufacturers.

Public spending on medicines in Bulgaria remains significantly lower than in most EU countries. More than three times lower than in the five largest countries in the EU.

Between 2015 and 2018, patients in the five largest EU countries had access to more than twice as many innovative therapies as those in Bulgaria, they said at the press conference. This in turn leads to an increased risk of death from oncological diseases. It takes 247 extra days for a new drug to enter our country, said Prof. Asena Serbesova - Chair of the Management Board of the Bulgarian Pharmaceutical Union.

Prof. Serbezova also said that her dream was the digitization of Bulgarian health system - telemedicine, electronic files and even artificial intelligence, so that diseases could be diagnosed more effectively.

According to a survey by Trend polling agency, 73% of Bulgarians believe that there is a need for additional funds in the health system because of the pandemics, such as the coronavirus. According to the study, our compatriots are of the opinion that the control over the health system on the part of  the relevant institutions is poor, they want to improve the material base and raise the salaries of medics.

The conclusions prompted by the coronavirus pandemic are that the country needs years for the health system to reach the development pace in the EU, and the share of GDP allocated for healthcare must be at the average European level of 8% in order to upgrade the health model with voluntary funds, the NHIF to become a public fund, a government policy is also needed in terms of staff, as over 50% of doctors in Bulgaria are working in three major cities.



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Tags: Bulgaria, healthcare system, development, GDP


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