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Health Mediator Velcho Mihalev Acquaints us with the Voluntary Mission in Varna
18.07.2014 ZdravenMediator.net

    Hello, dear readers!
   We, the Health mediators who went to Varna to help after the flood already came back to our homes safe and sound. I would like to tell you what we did there together - Asen from Shumen, Milio from Straldja, Natasha and Sasho from Sliven, Rusi from Nova Zagora, Gergana from Karnobat, Eleonora from Zlataritsa, Valentin from Tervel and Kina from Yambol. We were in Varna city six days – from 23 to 28 June 2014.
   When we arrived on Monday, June 23, in Varna we saw tragedy, horror, suffering, pain and death - this was the picture after the flood. I can’t find stronger words to describe the victims’ situation. We detoured all houses where the tidial wave had passed. Our idea was to establish direct contact with the people: to talk with them; to consult them; to look for injured, pregnant women, chronically ill people and children; to make an accessment of the situation and to understand what the needs are. We detoured all affected streets: Gorna Studena, Grivitsa, Rozova dolina, Braila, Moryashka, Bratya Miladinovi, Kiril i Metodii.
    We found:
-  one man injured by the tidal wave with cuts and bruises on his legs who, thanks to the Health mediators, was transported to Emergency Aid in Asparuhovo neighbourhood and then to the Regional Hospital;
-  diabetic patients who needed insulin and astmatic patients who needed inhalers;
-  hypertensive patients and other chronically ill people whose medicines and important medical documents were engulfed by water.
   We found out that people need medicines, disinfectants, diapers, food and clean water. We, the Health mediators, made a long list and looked for support from Varna Municipality, Asparuhovo Mayoralty, Regional Health Inspectorate-Varna, Bulgarian Red Cross-Varna and Bulgarian Donation Forum. For very short time - 1 or 2 days, we received bandages, medical supplies, analgetics, masks, gloves and other items by Sopharma - all these were destributed to families in need.
   Now I want to thank to all institutions and especially to Bulgarian Donation Forum and the informal group of volunteers in Facebook group “Let’s GetUnited”, because every day they called us to ask what we need and gave us and people the needed consumables and materials.
  Every day we helped our colleague Jeman Hasan to distribute food, clothes and blankets, washing and cleaning materials to the victims. All the time we worked jointly with “Sauchastie” Association - Iliyan Rizov, Irina Ivanova. We also worked with our colleagues Health mediators Zarko Zarkov and  Leyla Husein who are working on Component 5 of The Program “Prevention and Control of HIV/AIDS”, implemented by Ministry of Health, funded by The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria.
   In a Mobile Unit, provided through Component 5, jointly with nurses from Varna we provided medical services for volunteers, workers on the field and injured people. Health mediators measured blood presure and nurses vaccinated people against tetanus (vaccines provided by Medical Centre-Asparuhovo). Angel and Sasho - Health mediators from Plovdiv - came to help us with their colleagues who work on Component 5 in Plovdiv. They worked on drainage and on cleaning the mud from homes.
  The Health mediator from Burgas - Mitko Dokov – came in Varna with Mobile Unit. He worked jointly with dr. Panayotov and Stela Kostova who came from Sliven. We were in good partnership with Nikolay Nikolov form Center for Straegies about Problems of Minorities and pastor Kosta from Free Evangelical Baptist Church in Varna.
   Together with Nikolay and Kina we visited the home of the most injured family by the flood. There Kina gave financial support to the mother of two perishedchildren.
  Five days later all colleagues desided to go back home, because the situation calmed down. Demolition of dangeroushouses was planned as well as other activities that were not in our competence.
   Later it is possible that we go to Asparuhovo again because of vaccine prophylaxis against Hepatitis A. The Network of Health Mediators will negotiate provision of free vaccines against Hepatitis A and other medicines.
   At the end I would like to thank cordially to the Management Board of the National Network of Health Mediators and to GlaxoSmithKline about the financial support they ensured for the implementation of our action.
   Many thanks to Rositsa Ivanova from the National Council for Cooperation on Ethnic and Integrational Issues about her help on the field in communication with local authorities.
   I would like also to thank to all colleagues-volunteers, who accepted the mission to come with me in Varna to help the affected people and didn’t needed more than a minute on the phone to be convinced to do it. Without their help this mission wouldn’t happen. And of course, thanks to all colleagues and Health mediators who were calling every day to support us and to give us strength to move on.

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