, 8.10.2020

A new mental health strategy has been prepared by the Ministry of Health. The project envisages better financing of specialists in this field, relocation of psychiatric hospitals and construction of centers for complex care and rehabilitation. Will all this solve the problems for patients with mental illness, will they finally receive care and a life worthy of the 21st century, we asked Assoc. Prof. Hristo Hinkov. He is a psychiatrist, director of the NCPHA and one of the co-authors of the project.

You can read the interview here

English translation

Channel 3, "Social Network", October 13, 2020
"The incidence of anxiety disorders and depression is not increasing in Bulgaria during the COVID pandemic. Increased demand for the so-called sedatives is noted, but this does not mean illness. In March 2020, there was a 12% increase in acute alcohol intoxication compared to the same month last year. More and more young people are turning to a psychiatrist because they realize what mental health means, "said Dr. Zahari Zarkov of the National Center of Public Health and Analyses on the Social Network.
You can watch the whole show here

 NOVA TV, News, October 10, 2020

"Live, do not suffer" is a campaign in support of people with mental health problems, among its activities a Viber application has been developed, where anyone can seek help.

"There is a stigma in seeking help when a person is depressed for two weeks and cannot sleep, or to calm down, he has to drink alcohol. There is still something for Bulgarians to learn about their mental health ", commented Dr. Zahari Zarkov, Director of the Directorate" Mental Health and Addiction Prevention "at NCPHA.

According to the WHO, every fifth person develops a mental illness at some stage in their life, and the COVID-19 pandemic affects in one way or another the psyche of people who did not have such problems.

You can see the whole report here

bTV, News, October 10, 2020

Close to a billion people in the world suffer to some degree from mental disorders, and social isolation can worsen their condition. According to world data, one in five children has a mental disorder.

"The care, on the one hand, is done with drug therapy, on the other hand is related to the measures for social support of these people," said Dr. Vladimir Nakov, head of the Mental Health Department at the NCPHP.

You can watch the whole report here

The fourteenth edition of the National Conference on the Prevention of Narcotics Use and Abuse was held in Razgrad (30.09–2.10.2020). It presented for the first time the National Strategy for Combating Narcotics (2020-2024), adopted by the Council of Ministers in July this year.

The event was attended by the Deputy Minister of Health Svetlana Yordanova, the Mayor of Razgrad Dencho Boyadzhiev, as well as experts from NCPHA, including the Director of the Directorate "Mental Health and Addiction Prevention" Dr. Zahari Zarkov and Dr. Vladimir Nakov, Head of the Mental Health Department.

More than 100 members of the Municipal Councils on Narcotic Substances and the Prevention and Information Centers from all over the country exchanged experiences within the conference. Work discussions and panels also presented good practices in working with addictions, preventive approaches to working with children and young people who are using drugs were also presented, as well as treatment programs and psychosocial rehabilitation programs.

The conference trained 30 experts to work with at-risk groups as part of the implementation of the National narcotics combating Strategy.

The forum also discussed the possibilities for working in emergency situations, the remote implementation of prevention programs in the school environment and others.

The event was organized by the Municipality of Razgrad and the local Council on Narcotic Substances with the assistance of the Secretariat of the National Council on Narcotic Substances and the NCPHA.


NCPHA conducted a training seminar for consultants from the offices for smoking cessation at RHI (September 24-25). The two-day training was related to the topic of the new risks of smoking in view of the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic and the requirements for the cessation consultations they set.

Experts from NCPHA gave presentations dedicated to the health aspects of the use of the so-called "new tobacco products", requiring heating and e-cigarettes. Notice was taken of the current specifics and the main stages in the planning and implementation of smoking cessation consultations

Guest trainer was Dr. Sofia Angelova, a prominent specialist in lung diseases and chairman of the National Association for the Prevention of Lung Diseases.


The annual working meeting of the regional coordinators of the National Program for Prevention of Chronic Non-Communicable Diseases (CND) 2014-2020 was held on September 11, 2020. The results in the development of the Program were discussed at it. The director of NCPHA (National Center of Public Health and Analyses) Assoc. Prof. Hristo Hinkov, the deputy director Prof. Plamen Dimitrov, who is also the national coordinator of the Program, were present. Representatives of the Ministry of Health and the National Program Council, as well as the program coordinators from the 28 districts of the country took part.
The report presented the activities carried out under the program in 2019. The problems that arose in the course of the work and recommendations for optimizing the National Program for Prevention of Chronic Non-Communicable Diseases were discussed.
Within the event, a training was held in relation with the National Survey of Health Risk Factors among the Population in Bulgaria in 2020.


Nova TV “Wake up”, 30.08.2020

Will one of the most popular children’s equipment remain in the past? After Blagoevgrad and Plovdiv decided to remove the sand pits from the children’s playgrounds, will other cities follow? What is the motive and is it somehow connected to fears from COVID-19 infection? Those and other questions find answers in a report by NOVA. “For the owners of the playgrounds there are certain requirements –д-р Момчил Сиджимов most commonly this is the municipality. They are required to execute periodic control, the sand should be washed, before being planted, twice a year it should be sifted and disinfected, once a year it should be toped”, specifies dr. Momchil Sidjimov, lead of department “Environment and health risk” in National center of public health and analyses. There are no worm parasites in the sand pits and there are no heavy metals. There are no favorable conditions for virus development, coronavirus included.
You can watch the whole report here, May 27, 2020

- Prof. Israel, when was the Expert Advisory Council on 5G Technology established?

- The Expert Advisory Council (EAC) was established by order of the Minister of Health in 1997 in connection with the implementation of an international project of the WHO "Electromagnetic Fields", as our country is one of the first active participants (more than 70 countries) in it. The new technology standard "5G", starting from 2018-2019, is a new challenge for the EАC and it comes in line with the development of new technologies in Europe and worldwide. According to the EU Action Plan (Brussels, 14.9.2016 COM (2016) 588 final, Communication from the Commission to the European Parliament, the Council, the European Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions 5G for Europe: An Action Plan {SWD (2016) 306 final}), by 2022 the next generation of devices with 5G technology will enter.

Research is ongoing and an exposure assessment is pending, which will be done after the networks are built. The policy for this, both for Bulgaria and for the other EU member states, will be based on the results of research conducted to minimize the scientific uncertainty on the topic.

You can read the whole interview with Prof. M. Israel here.


May 31 is the World No Tobacco Day (WNTD), where health authorities around the world and NGOs involved in the problem focus on the health hazards associated with tobacco use and promote effective policies to reduce the impact of tobacco use.

On this occasion, the Ministry of Health announces a national competition for the production of a poster on the theme "It’s time to speak out and get tobacco exposed!", which is this year's motto of the World Day, announced by the World Health Organization.

The initiative is in partnership with the WHO Regional Office in Bulgaria, the Bulgarian Red Cross, the National Health Insurance Fund, the Regional Health InspectinsRHIs and non-governmental organizations working to prevent the use of tobacco products. The details of the competition, related to the conditions, the requirements for the participants and the determined awards, can be found on the website of the Ministry of Health here., 25.03.2020

Dr. Zahari Zarkov, Head of the Directorate “Mental Health and Prevention of Addictions” at the NCPHA, in a talk on mental health in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic.

- Dr. Zarkov, what is your impression whether it is easy for the Bulgarian people to go through this crisis?

- In this situation, which already affects every person on the planet, personally, in my opinion it is not correct to speak of "Bulgarian", "American", "Chinese" ... The human palette is extremely colorful in principle, there are hardly two people who to experience it all in the same way at the moment, what else is left for a whole nation. It can't be easy, it can't be easy either for everyone individually or for all of us as a whole. It is important to maintain our common sense, self-control, humanity, optimism. To see spring, though only through the window, to be able to rejoice in it, to radiate love and peace to our loved ones, compassion, concern and responsibility towards strangers.

You can read the full interview here