Foundation for Local Government Reform
2019/12: Vision for Vision

The project will be implemented in two years with the support of the Active Citizens Bulgaria Fund under the EEA FM 2014-2021.

Project partners:

  • Retina Bulgaria Association
  • Foundation for Local Government Reform (FLGR)
  • Blindrafelagid Icelandic Association of the Visually Impaired, Iceland

The problem in regulating the rights of the visually impaired, as well as of the disabled in Bulgaria in general, lies in the lack of a vision for a coordinated (at central-administrative level) mechanism for prevention, diagnostics (including genetical), treatment and rehabilitation. This leads to gaps and inconsistencies between the current health and social laws and regulations and practices for their implementation. To a large extent, this inadequacy of the regulation stems from the lack of awareness of both visually impaired people and public authorities. The project is a pilot one aimed at raising civic awareness, and that of central and local authorities, about the number and problems of people with visual impairments.

The project is expected to contribute to the implementation of socially beneficial policies on a national and local level, as well as practices and standards for modern prevention, diagnosis, treatment, rehabilitation of visually impaired people.

FLGR will play a significant role in the implementation of policies in local governments and in the preparation of the Analysis of existing regulations related to ocular and visual health and the Programme for its updating and amendment. FLGR will also provide the material and technical facilities necessary for the implementation of all project activities (office, technical equipment, car).

Blindrafélagið Icelandic Association of the Visually Impaired, a member of Retina International, working in Iceland since 1939, will guarantee international support for the realization of the idea. to provide services. Blindrafélagið experts will be actively involved in the presentation and implementation of working models for empowering people with disabilities and research principles for service delivery.

The project will achieve its objectives through a series of interrelated activities to engage key stakeholders and competent actors in addressing the project problem, while providing a credible resource for informed debate on strategic and regulatory reforms at central and local level. based on interdisciplinary research expertise:

- Preparation of an Analysis of the existing legislation and clinical and social practices in Bulgaria to prevent (preventable) blindness, treatment, rehabilitation and social integration of people with visual impairments.

- Organizing a Round Table with medical and health professionals (ophthalmologists, optometrists, optogenetics, eye / vision rehabilitators), representatives of NAMRB, Agency for People with Disabilities, Committee on Rare Diseases (Ministry of Health), and other responsible for the purpose of: determination of the current regulatory and practical status in relation to diagnostics (incl. genetical), treatment, monitoring, rehabilitation, prevention and care for persons with (severe) visual diseases and risk groups in Bulgaria; classification and identification of the main types of risk groups, types of degenerative eye diseases / diagnoses and the corresponding specific needs of patients in these groups; and others.

- Organizing a workshop with patient organizations, representatives of local authorities, mediators and social rehabilitators, the Union of the Blind in Bulgaria, Centers for Social Rehabilitation and Integration in the country, responsible municipal administrators, Roma health mediators, and representatives of the partner organization Blindrafélagið Association of the Blind.

- Creation of a digital information platform with access for visually impaired people in two phases: 1) Preparation of an information database intended to inform people with visual impairments and the general public in Bulgaria about the problem area; 2) Creation of an electronic platform that technically meets the requirements for access of blind persons and publication of the prepared database.

- Training of regional trainers of blind and visually impaired in order to prepare them for trainers of the blind and visually impaired locally, about their diseases, novelties in diagnostics, treatment and care methods, genetic counseling opportunities for them and their family members, access to assistive technology and new assistive technologies, rights and opportunities to improve their visual health and lifestyle.

- Organization of advocacy and educational campaign for the blind and visually impaired in the cities of Montana, Pleven, Varna, Burgas, Plovdiv and Sofia to cover the 6 planning regions. During the campaign, a series of consultative meetings will be held to discuss possible reforms at local level and to provide feedback on local government practices and decisions.

- Elaboration of a Program for updating and amending the regulations in Bulgaria, related to eye and visual health, in order to propose a complex of related measures and texts for recommended changes in the legislation (laws and regulations) providing an adequate mechanism for improvement of prevention, diagnosis and medico-social care for people with permanent / degenerative visual impairments in Bulgaria.

- Organization of a closing national conference to formulate policies for the prevention of blindness and preservation of ocular and visual health in Bulgaria, and consultations on the proposed Programme for updating and changes in the normative acts related to eye and the nation's visual health.

This document was created with the financial support of the Active Citizens Bulgaria Fund under the European Economic Area Financial Mechanism. The sole responsibility for the content of this document lies with Retina Bulgaria Association, FLGR and and Blindrafelagid Icelandic Association of the Visually Impaired, Iceland, and under no circumstances can it be assumed that this document reflects the official opinion of the European Economic Area Financial Mechanism and the Operator of the Active Citizens Bulgaria Fund.

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