National Network for Children and “Bridges Community” association, supported by doctors, parents and representatives of 24 civil organizations, sent a letter to the president, parliamentary groups and health authorities, with which we once again demand urgent action to ensure access to medical food to patients in need.
Currently, many foods for medical use are not covered by the National Health Insurance Fund: these are foods for rare diseases treated at home, for use during hospital treatment of patients without a clinical pathway. This puts hundreds of people in a situation where they rely solely on their own or donated funds to obtain the vital medical food they need. Due to the economic barrier, there are cases of children and young people dying due to malnutrition. People literally starved to death. The problems have been present for over 11 years, and there has been no result from the reports and requests so far.
Among the main problems, due to which patients are left without medical food, are the wide range of diagnoses that lead to a state of inability to take food in the usual way, lack of codes in the disease register and the need to update the list of medical foods that are reimbursed by the NHIF. Even for the diseases approved in it, there is currently no liquid form of food.
Caring for patient nutrition is a basic human right! The need to provide free access to food for special medical purposes has been clearly stated by a number of national and European organizations – Bulgaria received letters from the European Society of Pediatric Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Nutrition and from the Chairman of the Nutrition Committee of the German Society for pediatric medicine and adult medicine. Moreover, the opinion of the Bulgarian Society of Pediatric Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Nutrition categorically states that with the application of enteral foods, the costs of the health system for the care of children are actually significantly reduced, since their timely and correct use prevents complications for patients.
In this context, we urgently demand that a plan to be created with clear deadlines and specified responsible persons to ensure the reimbursement of medical foods for deprived patients – children and people over 18 years of age, whose medical condition requires the use of these foods.