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Association 'Women without Osteoporosis'

Osteoporosis awareness campaign in Bulgaria
devoted to World Osteoporosis Day 2003

Bearing in mind the tremendous public interest shown for World Osteoporosis Day during previous years, the Association "Women without Osteoporosis" announced October 2003 as the month dedicated to the fight against osteoporosis. It was launched in the Black Sea town of Varna on October 1 with a patient meeting - lecture organized by Association "Women without Osteoporosis" and Hygiene-Epidemiological Inspectorate (HEI) of the town, with the kind hospitality of the Varna Municipality. The big plenary hall of the Municipality was over-filled from the local public assembled to hear the welcoming speech of Dr. Zdravko Markov, Head of Direction "Health and Social Activities" at Varna Municipality, the lecture of the honourable Prof. Lidia Koeva, as well as the presentation of the Association made from its deputy-chairwoman Ms Tzanka Misheva, journalist of the Bulgarian National Radio. The meeting marked the start of the local section of the Association, which drew enormous interest on the part of the local media and many first-time members enrolled on the spot!

The Campaign was carried out in collaboration with the Hygiene-Epidemiological Inspectorates in more than 20 regions of the country, distributing by them the translated reports of IOF "Osteoporosis at working place" and "Life-style quality". In particular,transmission of the video clip "The Train" was offered by the local TV-channels in the whole country. Simultaneously, the "One-minute Test" for assessment of the osteoporosis risk was distributed.

The background of the Campaign were the osteometric examinations carried out in over 10 regions. For this purpose, the Association "Women without Osteoporosis" involved the local specialists working with osteometers and where they were missing - organized teams coming from other towns. The measurements were performed at the local HEIs achieving in this way excellent information coverage about the Campaign and an orderly organization.

As its well known, the osteometric examinations in Bulgaria have no reimbursement. For this reason, the Campaign was organized throughoutthe country at preferential rates (considerably lower than the common ones) . In about three weeks only, several thousands examinations have been made. And because of the numerous orders, the Campaign continues in November and December.

In the city of Sofia, from October 20 to October 24, an exhibition of foods, additives and measurement instruments for prevention and treatment of osteoporosis under the motto "Quality of life" was carried out. It was visited by over 2000 people. There, the members of the Corporative Council of the Association were represented with own stands – the pharmaceutical companies "Eli Lilly", “Merck, Sharp and Dohme" and “Novartis”, as well as firms-producers of foods and additives – “Schmidt-Í” and “Kendy”. During the exhibition, 8 mobile ultrasound apparatuses were working. At the same time, other devices made the round of women collectives in the Capital – schools, kindergartens, institutes, private firms.

This large program devoted to WOD-2003 was the final stage of the three-year Campaign of the Association "Women without Osteoporosis" called “One minute for health - health for all life". During the latter, in a period of 2 years, the "One-minute Test" for assessment of the risk factors for osteoporosis was distributed in more than 50 000 copies and thousands of people themselves estimated their personal risk of the disease. So, at the end of the Campaign they could examine also their bone density. After processing of the data obtained, they will serve as a stable basis for assessment of the risk factors for osteoporosis - a very important fact for the missing statistics in Bulgaria.

The culmination of the WOD campaign was the visit of Ms Mel Read M.E.P. - founder and Chairwoman of the Group on Osteoporosis at the European Parliament. She arrived in the country at the invitation of the Association "Women without Osteoporosis" and her first meeting was in the Parliament with Prof. Atanas Shterev – Head of the Parliament Health Commission.

The Bulgarian Women’s Forum against Osteoporosis was held at "Sheraton-Balkan" Hotel, Sofia, with participation of prestigious woman's non-governmental organizations like the International Ladies' Club-Sofia to which belong women-diplomats and ambassadors' wives, leading Bulgarian specialists in the fields of osteoporosis, representatives of scientific medical societies, ministries and departments, connected with the spheres of health. There was a strong interest to the event on the part of the journalists from the Capital media. The speech of Ms Mel Read-M.E.P. was very stimulating and met with excitement from the audience. The present elite ladies' public, representing the non-governmental sector, signed a document "Call for action" addressed to the governmental institutions of the country to undertake urgent measures for limitation of osteoporosis before the first fracture. At the end of the event was performed a fashion show of clothes for women with osteoporosis developed by the young designer Ms Veneta Atanassova to order of the Association "Women without Osteoporosis".


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