Dr. Alexander Semkov: The interest for rehabilitation in Bulgaria is growing among foreigners
The interest for rehabilitation in Bulgaria is growing among foreigners, says Dr. Alexander Semkov, Director of the National Specialized Rehabilitation Hospitals Complex of the Ministry of Health.
How many are the specialized rehabilitation hospitals nationwide, what infrastructure do they have in terms of capacity and maintenance?
The National Specialized Rehabilitation Hospitals Complex (NSRHC) is a corporation of the Ministry of Health that manages a broad network of therapeutic and rehabilitative establishments, located in regions rich in natural curative resources – mineral waters, medicinal mud, and suitable microclimate.
Thirteen subdivisions located on the country’s territory according to the geographical sites with curative resources belong to the corporation: Narechen Baths, Pavel Banya, Pomorie, Sandanski, Kyustendil, Momin Prohod, Ovcha Mogila, Velingrad, Hissar, Banya Karlovo, and the baths in Smolyan, Varshets, and Bankya.
The corporation has a total of 2,171 beds. The fixed assets are maintained continually in very good condition. Each subdivision offers rooms of different categories, i.e., we are able to meet the requirements of all our customers.
Annually, how many patients are booking? Is there demand from abroad?
Annually, about 60,000 patients are undergoing treatment in our subdivisions. There is interest from foreign citizens, and it’s growing. We have many inquiries from Austria, Germany, and the former Soviet republics.
What are our country’s specific natural resources that are beneficial for the prophylaxis and the treatment of various illnesses, and which of the latter are treated best?
Bulgaria is a country rich in medicinal resources – more than 240 mineral springs, of which more than 75 warm to hot. All mineral water types known around the world have equivalents here. Deposits of high-quality medicinal mud of turf and liman origins have been discovered at many sites. A corollary of the natural resources abundance is the significant development of the R&D activity in balneology. A Bulgarian school of balneology has emerged. The specialized rehabilitation hospitals are one of its building blocks.
The aforementioned natural characteristics have direct implications in the rehabilitation from and the prophylaxis of a large group of illnesses. The major ones are those of the musculoskeletal system, the peripheral nervous system, cardiovascular diseases, hepato-biliary diseases, and urologic diseases. Some of the facilities are specialized in the treatment of the upper respiratory tract – chronic, non-specific, and allergic conditions such as bronchial asthma, chronic bronchitis, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, and post-pneumonia conditions.
What are the main treatment and rehabilitation methods used?
Various methods are used in the prophylaxis and the treatment of each patient. The corporation’s subdivisions are working in conformity with approved treatment programmes based upon the maximal exploitation of natural and pre-formed physical characteristics. The use of mineral water is an essential component, for balneotherapy (using bathtubs or pools) or for treatment through intake and inhalation. Modern complex treatment methods are applied, where the various kinds of balneological procedures are combined with various forms of therapeutic exercise, electrotherapy, dietary nutrition, etc. The methods developed are put into practice by highly trained and experienced medical staff; they are using contemporary equipment and are guaranteeing beneficial therapeutic effect in children and adults alike.
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