Life-Saving Vaccination Scheme Honored
Saving the lives of vulnerable children in Bulgaria’s Roma communities
During a measles outbreak in Bulgaria in 2009/10, more than 24,000 children fell sick, 90% from the minority Roma community, and 24 children died. Many of those infected had not been vaccinated.
In response to this health crisis, a ground-breaking partnership was born that has seen mobile medical units enter Roma communities to provide MMR, poliomyelitis and other important vaccinations to more than 200,000 children free of charge.
Today, the Initiative for Health and Vaccination was named the Most Valuable Collaboration of 2018 at the eyeforpharma Europe awards.
Formed by GSK Bulgaria and the National Health Mediator Network, it is the first time that governmental, non-governmental and private sector organizations in Bulgaria have worked together in this way.
The ongoing partnership continues to reduce infant mortality and raise health awareness across the whole of society, maintaining its specific focus on minority groups.
On the ground expertise
Playing a central role in the initiative are Health Mediators (HMs), members of the Roma community who know the people on a local level and speak both Bulgarian and Roma, as well as general practitioners and regional health inspectorates.
In addition to the vaccination program, the initiative has organized 11 national and more than 20 regional meetings to monitor progress and set further goals and activities, and increased the number of the Health Mediators from 98 to 215. This activity has led to a significant decrease in the spread of the vaccine-preventable diseases across the country.
In naming the Initiative for Health and Vaccination as the winner of the 2018 Most Valuable Collaboration award, the panel of expert judges – comprising patients, patient advocates, healthcare professionals and senior pharma executives – praised it as a “major collaboration” and a “great effort to establish mentor network and expand into multiple countries”.
The other finalists in the Most Valuable Collaboration category were:
Care4Today Heart Failure Platform (Janssen-Cilag/Johnson & Johnson Health and Wellness Solutions; Aylesbury and Chiltern Clinical Commissioning Group; Buckinghamshire Healthcare NHS Trust) – a platform to help HCPs identify earlier those patients with heart failure who are deteriorating, involving a shared-care record, patient interface, clinical dashboard and educational content.
Diagnosing Thrombotic Microangiopathy and aHUS (Alexion; QxMD; Swipe Health) – an innovative program with two separate interactive decision support tools to support the diagnosis of atypical hemolytic uremic syndrome (aHUS).
Empowering Digital Opinion Leaders to Educate Instagram Community (Bayer Healthcare; Digidea; Instagram) – a digital sexual health information program for young people in the Turkey, Iran and Maghreb region.
MyFeel+ Prostate Cancer Wellness Program (Ferring Pharmaceuticals; Kanga Health; Cliniques Universitaires Saint-Luc; European Prostate Cancer Coalition) – a digitized version of the offline patient support program Feel+ in Belgium, offering and website and web-based tracking app to help men with prostate cancer adhere to their medication.#
For more information on the eyeforpharma awards, visit the website.