Seminar on the problems of immunizations in Stara Zagora
Stara Zagora county was the host to another seminar for generally practicing doctors and specialists on the subject of “Communication between doctors and patients, regarding immunization problems”.
The event was held by Dr. Momchil Baev, chairman of Astra Forum Foundation, and on the subject spoke Dr. Mira Kozhuharova – epidemiologist and Dr. Georgi Vasilev – psychiatrist.
“Given the current threat of COVID-19, the Ukrainian refugee crisis is another challenge that the Bulgarian healthcare system is facing”, Dr. Baev noted in his introduction to the audience.
“The lower vaccination range on the population in the last few years is alarming, because it brings the risk of epidemics and infectious diseases that we have not seen in a long time. They are not any less disturbing than COVID-19.” said professor Kozhuharova.
She paid special attention to the measles immunization subject and put accent on the European Union recommendations for 95% vaccination coverage against the disease. This goal has not been achieved up to this moment.
According to Dr. Kozhuharova, before the COVID-19 pandemic there was no serious problem with vaccination, on the contrary, after the year 2000 many countries expanded their immunization calendars with mandatory vaccines. After the pandemic, vaccination numbers on a global scale have been reduced and many children today are not immunized. It is mandatory to bring these numbers back in order, because vaccine prophylactics is the most effective, accessible and inexpensive method for managing infectious diseases.
In the second part of the seminar, Dr. Georgi Vasilev shared his experience with the method of motivational interviewing, which proves itself as very suitable for handling hesitations about vaccines among patients.
This method was used for the first time in New Mexico, USA by William Miller, American psychiatrist, regarding patients who suffer from alcoholism. It is a strategy, based on changing the communication technology between doctor and patient. The goal is to achieve change in behavior as well. It is important to define the patient’s condition from the beginning. To put it in other words, it is important to know “where the patient stands” regarding vaccination (in this particular case), so they can be influenced in the desired direction of thoughts and actions. In reference to this, Dr. Vasilev directed the conversation towards defining the so-called “difficult patients” in terms of communication. He also suggested different methods for communicating with these groups of people.
Everything that was said in the lecture part of the seminar was confirmed by a practical demonstration of doctor-patient communication.
The seminars for doctors in “outpatient” care are organized by Astra Forum Foundation with the support of a coalition of partners – The Ministry of Health and the Regional Health Inspection, America for Bulgaria Foundation, Bulgarian Society of Innovative Medicine and ARPharM, World Health Organization offices and UNICEF Bulgaria.