Bulgaria National OT News

News from Bulgaria, 2019

On 31st of May and 1st of June 2019 the University of Ruse “Angel Kanchev” hosted the 2nd  International Scientific Conference on Occupational Therapy: From Roots to Fruits in the Balkan countries, organized in collaboration with “Vasile Alecsandri” University of Bacau, the Association of Bulgarian Ergotherapists (ABET) and the Romanian Professional Association of Occupational Therapists (APTOR) under the patronage of the World Federation of Occupational Therapists (WFOT). The two universities are long-standing partners and pioneers in the development of Occupational therapy as a university programme and a health profession in Bulgaria and Romania.

Official guests of the event were Samantha Shann, Vice President of the World Federation of Occupational Therapists (WFOT), and Hanneke van Bruggen, founder and long-term Executive Director of the European Network of Occupational Therapy in Higher Education (ENOTHE).

The plenary sessions included a presentation on the development of Occupational Therapy in Bulgaria and Romania, as well as key speeches by the official guests Samantha Shann and Hanneke van Bruggen. The participants received a video greeting address from Occupational Therapy – Europe (http://www.coteceurope.eu/wp-content/uploads/2019/06/Bulgaria.flv). THANK YOU COTEC, ENOTHE, ROTOS and SPOT for your ongoing support!

On the second day mothers of disabled children shared their true stories about the benefits of occupational therapy for their children.

During the conference, a round table Vision on Occupational Therapy in Bulgaria for clarifying the core essence of Occupational Therapy as an academic programme and a healthcare profession was held. Representatives of social services, governmental and local institutions, academics and practitioners, attended the round table. The participants were united in the opinion on the need of a broad discussion at a high level, and legislative initiatives for the sustainable development of Occupational Therapy in Bulgaria.

The conference continued with scientific sessions demonstrating the scope of practice in Bulgaria and an enjoyable social evening, making new connections and catching up with friends and national and international colleagues.

During the second day practitioners and academics participated in a workshop on the promotion of occupational therapy to key stakeholders in Bulgaria and Romania. The foundations of a common strategy for including occupational therapy in social and health care services in the Balkan countries were laid. Students were engaged in a student workshop where they applied their skills in analysis of a traditional activity and teaching it to colleagues from the neighbour country.

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