Publication: Bulgaria Health Sector Diagnosis : Policy Note

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World Bank
The health system in Bulgaria has undergone significant transformations since the transition and it continues to evolve. This policy note updates a similar document prepared in 2009. It highlights some positive developments, particularly in the area of public health, but continues to find gaps that recent reforms have been unable to reverse. In particular: i) health status in Bulgaria is improving at a slower pace than in other European Union (EU) countries, and the burden of non-communicable diseases is particularly high; ii) coverage of preventive services is low and Bulgarians are much more frequently hospitalized than other Europeans, a sign that the system may not be producing the right mix of services; iii) Bulgarians are among the least satisfied Europeans when it comes to their health system; and iv) total health expenditure is comparable to that of countries with similar income, but the out-of pocket share is disproportionately large and has grown over time, and the financial protection provided by the system is incomplete. Whilst more public expenditure on health will be needed in the medium to long-term, any increases should be accompanied by improvements in efficiency and effectiveness in order to make the best use of resources and ensure the delivery of better health outcomes. This policy note thus primarily focuses on three areas where decisive and prompt action could rapidly bring results and improve the experience of Bulgarian citizens: hospitals, outpatient care, and drug policies. These issues are closely interlinked and tackling them is a key to the modernization of service delivery in all European countries. Indeed, in order to face the challenges brought about by ageing and non-communicable diseases and to meet the population's needs and expectations, new models of health and social care need to emerge that enable patients to stay out of hospital. This is possible through technological change, but can only happen if the outpatient sector delivers more and patients can manage diseases and risk factors through access to appropriate services and medicines.
World Bank. 2012. Bulgaria Health Sector Diagnosis : Policy Note. © Washington, DC. License: CC BY 3.0 IGO.
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