Boston, MA -- (SBWIRE) -- 04/04/2014 -- Highlights from the Region
Bulgaria is located in south-eastern Europe, bordering Romania, Serbia, Macedonia, Greece and Turkey and is one of the newest members of the EU, joining in January 2007, alongside Romania. The population of Bulgaria is estimated at 7.3 million in 2012, 18.6% of whom are aged 65 or over.
Funding for healthcare in Bulgaria is principally through compulsory health insurance, operated by the National Health Insurance Fund. The role of the NHIF is to provide a basic package of health services for the whole population. The government is divided on whether to allow private companies to operate in the insurance sector. Private spending is currently almost entirely on an out-of-pocket basis.
Romania is located in south-eastern Europe, bordering Hungary, Ukraine, Moldova, Bulgaria and Serbia. In 2012, the population is estimated at 21.4 million, making it one of the most populous countries in the region. Romania became an EU member state in 2007.
Healthcare funding in Romania is largely through the National Health Insurance Fund. Healthcare provision is predominantly managed by the state, although the private health sector is starting to grow. Government health expenditure is very low, even by Eastern European standards. Romania spends around 5.4% of GDP on healthcare.
Improvements to the health system continue to be supported by World Bank-sponsored projects. The 'Health Sector Reform Project APL II', was approved in December 2004 and will run until December 2012. It aims to improve maternity and newborn care, emergency medical care and rural primary healthcare. The total project cost is estimated at US$206.5 million. A further World Bank health project, with an estimated total cost of US$336.8 million, is currently awaiting approval.
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Slovenia is one of the smallest countries in Europe, with a population of just over 2.0 million. It formed the most westerly and developed part of the former Yugoslavia. The country escaped almost unscathed from the destruction seen elsewhere due to the collapse of Yugoslavia in the early 1990s. The current president is Danilo Turk, elected for a five-year term in November 2007. Presidential elections will take place on 11th November 2012.
The country remains the richest of the central and eastern European states, and in many ways more closely resembles Italy or Austria than its neighbours to the east. Slovenia joined the European Union in 2004 and adopted the euro in 2007. The economy has suffered a downturn due to the economic recession, albeit less severe than in many of its neighbours. According to Business Monitor International (BMI), GDP is expected to contract by 1.0% in 2012.
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