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Being health mediator in Bulgaria

The most important thing is to help people and do good: health mediator Remziye Hasanova

The health mediator is the link between the vulnerable minority communities and the health and social services. Because of its specificity, the profession is not attractive enough, but it becomes more than a profession for those who start working in this field. In the beginning, I had doubts, but now I would not think twice if I am offered the job of health mediator, Remziye Hasanova from the village of Rakovski (Razgrad district) told Radio Bulgaria. There are over 200 health mediators in Bulgaria and Remziye is one of them.

The history of Bulgaria’s health mediation dates back to 2001 when the first pilot project aimed at improving the access of Roma people to the healthcare and social services in the city of Kyustendil was launched. In 2007 health mediation became a profession with delegated budget and the appointments of the staff are made by the Bulgarian municipalities, Remziye Hasanova explains. Remziye is sixty –one-years-old and has two children and four grandchildren. In her long career she has worked for twelve years as health mediator. Remziye talks about her current job with a lot of love. In 2006, she attended a competition organized by the foundation “Health problems of the minority groups” and was offered the position of health mediator. She completed a training course successfully and received a certificate allowing her to practice this profession and since then she has been working as health mediator only. She works in the village of Rakovski and each Wednesday she offers her services in the nearby city of Razgrad.

I emphasize on the health culture and the level of awareness of the people on important topics and I work individually with them or in groups. I inform and agitate pregnant women and young mothers to attend free of charge health check-ups, Remziye Hasanova told Radio Bulgaria and adds that her role is to inform the community about the need for immunizations. She also participates at national emergency immunization campaigns.

Remziye’s task is to facilitate the access to healthcare and social services of all disadvantaged people and raise people’s awareness of the health system. She contends that she knows the specific problems of the community she works with, because she herself is one of them. Her success depends on the strong partnership with local health and social institutions, medical specialists and social centers working within the community.

I can safely say that people trust me and are grateful to me and I am proud with that. I feel useful and meaningful, Remziye Hasanova went on to say and added that people contact her for all types of issues anytime.

Sometimes people are trying to contact me after work or during the weekend. I never refuse help, the health mediator says. Although at first glance the problems of the people she works with are simple, they take it very seriously. When the time for heating benefits applications comes, my day begins with a long queue of people in front of my office door and they ask me to fill these applications for them.

Remziye is well accepted and is always welcome to the people’s homes. The health mediator from the village of Rakovski regards her profession as a noble and humane cause.

When I see smiling people, I know I did my job well. I love my profession and I practice it with desire. I will always be there when people need my help, because helping people and doing good is the most important thing, the health mediator concludes.

English version: Kostadin Atanasov

Photos: Sadet Safet and private library

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