Visiting Nurses for Mothers and Babies: Coming Soon to All Regions in Bulgaria
After the successful implementation of the the home visiting service in Shumen and Sliven the programme will be expanded to all 28 regions in Bulgaria
Sofia, 21 March 2018 – After successful implementation of UNICEF-supported family-focused home visiting service for mothers and young children in Shumen and Sliven, the Ministry of Health has committed to expand the programme to all 28 regions in Bulgaria.
The innovative UNICEF-supported project estalishing Centers for Maternity and Child Health as an outreach support has been implemented from 2014 to 2018, and in that period the visiting nurses reached more than 11,000 children and families in Shumen and Sliven – which amount to nearly 70% of all children aged 0-3. Following a joint assesment of the benefits of this service, the Ministry of Health has decided to expand this service across Bulgaria with the support of EU funds.
The project of support for mothers and young children was rolled out initially in 2014 with great support of citizens and companies in Bulgaria.
In the first 1,000 days most families will need some support in caring for their children, but some of the most vulnerable families will need all the support we can provide.
We welcome the decision of the Ministry of Health to bring the critical support to mothers and young children in all regions in Bulgaria. Every child has the equal right to health and care to develop their potentials and this is an important step towards realising these rights. I would like to thank all UNICEF donors who supported our efforts to reach the first 11,000 children and their families with support and care. We look forward to promoting this model of support for the most vulnerable children beyond borders of Bulgaria, especially during the Bulgarian presidency of the Council of the European Union', said UNICEF Representative in Bulgaria Maria Jesus Conde.
Centers for Maternal and Child Health offer home visits by trained nurses/midwives to pregnant women and caregivers of young children. Through their visits, they aim to promote child care practices conducive to healthy development of children, early identification of children at risk of developmental delays, abuse, neglect or abandonment. The service also provides early intervention through improved access to health, social and education services in the community.
During the visits caregivers receive information and guidance and support related to health, breastfeeding, emotional and cognitive development of children, immunisation, maternal health, positive parenting, and how to get access to health and social services. The visiting nurses also help identify pregnant women without health insurance and support them in accessing qualified antenatal care – thus contributing to improved maternal health and birth outcomes.
UNICEF in Bulgaria continues to work on a comprehensive set of measures that will support children and their families in the early years.