ORGANIZATION OF MEDICAL SERVICES DURING THE PROVISIONAL RUSSIAN ADMINISTRATION
The Russo-Turkish War of Liberation /1877-78/ is a landmark in modern Bulgarian history. A provisional Russian administration is established for an year and ten months. For East Roumelia /South Bulgaria/ it ends on 31 May 1879 when ruling is transferred to general-governor Alexander Bogoridi while for the Kingdom of Bulgaria it is held on 7 July 1879 when Prince Alexander Batemberg receives power from Russian A. M. Dondukov-Korsakov.
Not regarding the short period for ruling of the newly independent bulgarian lands, the provisional Russian administration of North and South Bulgaria makes deep social, economical and political changes which in their entity equal a real bourgoasian revolution. Three are the basic signs of transformation in bulgarian society: 1/ liquidating the Turkish feudal system 2/ making path for development of trade and commerce and 3/ giving wide political opportunities for the thuswhile mainly peasant masses.
Independence finds Bulgaria entirely backwards in sanitary conditions. There are diploma-registered physicians only in the big cities of the country which hardly could supply the health needs of the population. It is so far the duty of the appointed during the war Prince V. A. Cherkaski to take care of of welfare questions during the advancement of the Russian army. It is to him that is due a plan for administering the medical services. With respect to limited number of physicians an institution of regional /”gubernsk”/ and district /”sanjack”/ care is created. Thus district physician Dr. Stoian Radoslavov is appointed on 5 June 1877 in Svistov. On 1 July Dr. Stat Antonov takes health care of Turnovo and later the same month Dr. Alexis Christov is physician of Gabrovo. In February 1878 Dr. Dimiter Mollov is given post in Vidin sanjack. As a whole 26 district physicians are appointed in the newly liberated lands.
Meanwhile and parallel with regional medical administration a special attention to establishment of hospitals is paid. This is priority of Slav Welfare Association, Russian Red Cross etc. In the end of June 1877 a hospital with 200 beds is established in Turnovo. Later hospital facilities are made in Silistra, Tutrakan, Razgrad, Kazanluk, Plovdiv etc.
With the advancement of war general-governor Prince Dondukov-Korsakov takes rapport. The sector for Internal Affairs of the created provisional Russian government deals with health care questions. General Gresser proposes that an organization of public health services is commissioned in the country with respect to physicians, hospitals and pharmacies with attracting local moral and material resources. The best answer is given by Vidin sanjack physician Dr. Mollov. As a result on 15 August 1878 the latter is commissioned to the provisional Russian administration. His project “Temporary rules for medical administration in Bulgaria” is verified by Prince Dondukov-Korsakov on 1 February 1879. This is a primer official health document which authorizes sanitary law in Bulgaria.
Accordingly, a Supreme Medical Council is set up which includes four physicians with a minister. Structurally it is a body commissioned at the Sector of Internal Affairs, however, functionally it has approximately administrative independence. Within the country a hospital network provides treatment with a mixed scheme of repay. First class hospitals are with 100 beds and second class hospitals are with 50 beds supplied mainly from the military resource. People from both gender can be treated for 1 Fr. the first 10 days and the rest – for ½ Fr. per day. In his report to the provisional Russian administration from 14 March 1879 general Gresser remarks that hospitals network function well and it is part of the official Kingdom.
There are lists of physicians authorized to practice in the country – 78 doctors, from which 55 Bulgarians. To compensate the inadequacy of medical personal a school for assistant doctors /”feldsher”/ is opened with two departments – medical and veterinary. This is the foundation for special courses in Sofia, Turnovo and Plovdiv. In a program for 6 to 8 months a group of 150 feldshers graduates. These are the first steps of a national health care system