Prof. Sabina Zaharieva is a National Consultant in Endocrinology and CEO of Academician Ivan Penchev University Endocrinology Hospital – Sofia, BULGARIA. She is Chairwoman of the State Graduation Examination Committee in granting the specialty of endocrinology. She has 200+ publications, including 83 published in West-European journals. Prof. Zaharieva has participated in numerous conventions, including 90 international events. She is a member of the Executive Committee of the European Neuroendocrine Association (ENEA), member of the Scientific Endocrinology Association, the European Endocrinology Association and the French Arterial Hypertension Association. She has specialized at Pasteur Institute and Paul Brousse Hospital.

-Prof. Zaharieva, you have been the CEO of Academician Ivan Penchev University Hospital for almost 10 years now. Would you please introduce the Hospital in a few words?

-The University Endocrinology Hospital has had a 60-year history. It is named after its founder, Academician Ivan Penchev. It is the only specialized medical facility in Bulgaria treating exclusively endocrinology issues. It is a reference center, too. The perfect combination of clinical, laboratory and diagnostic facility and surgical treatment together with follow-up care paves the road of an integrated approach in providing medical services to endocrinology patients. The hospital has 3 main Departments providing diagnosing and treatment to: • Hypothalamus and pituitary, adrenal and gonadal disorders • Thyroid and metabolic bone diseases • Diabetes and endocrinology surgery issues.

Academician Ivan Penchev Hospital is a highly technological facility; it has implemented the latest contemporary hospital database system, the only one in Bulgaria of integrated options of checking any possible adverse reaction to a certain medication.

-Undoubtedly, diabetes is a world problem. What do statistics show?

-Diabetes has become a pandemic diseasewidely spread in recent years. The current trend worldwide estimates over 500 million people will be affected by Diabetes, type 2,by year 2030. A great success of our medical facility is the fact we have beenworking for years on establishing a database of endocrine diseases. Initially, we did one for patients with pituitary and adrenal tumors. Earlier this year, the Ministry of Health appointedourHospital as the location to situate the Diabetes Registry, established on the basis of a contemporarysoftware technology. All this makes us head the top medical facilities in Europe in terms of our activity and social engagement. According to the Diabetes Registry in Bulgaria there are some 460,000diabetics closelymonitored by Bulgaria’s National Health Insurance Fund. Nevertheless, their number is greater. Ten years ago, the Department in Diabetology implemented a screening program for early diagnosis of diabetes, and it was a remarkable achievement for our small country.

-What are the requirements for treating foreign citizens at the Endocrinology Hospital?

-Foreigners are not limited in any way in their access to treatment in Bulgaria; there are no legal issues inreceiving treatment in a Bulgarian healthcare facility. A good piece of advice to foreign nationals is to get familiar with thesuccess and achievements of our medicine and healthcare services, in particular the diagnosis and treatment of all major and rare diseases in endocrinology. On the other side, we have to find ways to better promoteall activities and services of the Endocrinology Hospital.

-What is your opinion about the level of endocrinology in Bulgaria?

- Exceptionallyhigh. Ever since its very beginning – set by Academician Penchev – there wereconditions established for both a serious diagnosis and treatment activity and scientific research. This trend continues until this very day. It is my pleasure – in my capacity of Head of the Department of Endocrinology and CEO of the Hospital – to further develop a deepscientific research program as well asparticipate in international projects at a world level. The biggest recognition of our work was the fact we hosted the European NeuroendocrinologyCongress last year in Sofia, the capital of Bulgaria.