The National Patient Organization (NPO) is the largest and most influential patient association in Bulgaria. Established in January 2010, it currently has 57-member civil associations. The organization’s extensive network across the country, combined with numerous patients from various disease groups, has solidified its leadership position since its inception.

Among the NPO’s members are some of the most established and successful non-governmental organizations in Bulgaria. These organizations work in non-communicable chronic diseases, including oncological, cardiovascular, pulmonary, rare diseases, autoimmune, and genetic conditions. NPO members significantly contribute to preventing and managing epidemics and pandemics caused by infectious agents. Prevention, health literacy and awareness of the public and the policy makers are NPO’s highest priorities along with their advocacy actions standing for the interest of patients across the spectrum of public and social life.

Notable initiatives by the organization include the “Patient University” with over 30 innovative faculties covering various disease groups, the Patient Information Center with a national hotline, and the digital platform “Health Feedback”. Advocacy initiatives such as the “Patient Advocate”, numerous roundtables, and events in the National Assembly, state institutions, and interactions with Bulgaria’s political system have led to the establishment of the “Partnership for Health”. This advisory body on healthcare to the Council of Ministers has its secretariat entrusted to the NPO.

The fundamental need to unite key healthcare stakeholders, both locally and globally, forms the basis for NPO’s significant achievements in Europe. With NPO’s guidance and supported by the European Patients’ Forum (EPF), the establishment of the “European Partnership for Access to Quality Healthcare” (PACT) was realized in Europe. This ambitious goal, once considered nearly unattainable, successfully brought together all industry players. The innovative effort combines partner expertise to seek ways for equitable and comprehensive healthcare access for all in Europe—a strategy now widely embraced in the healthcare sector.

Within NPO’s organizational structure and operational models lies an unparalleled innovative potential in Bulgarian healthcare. A forward-thinking approach propels NPO’s active engagement in digitization and innovative technology projects. The organization’s AI-based patient voice assistant, available in patients’ native languages, aims to provide a wide range of tools for high-quality daily medical care. Furthermore, NPO’s innovative initiatives have led to collaboration on a cutting-edge international scientific project funded by European resources. NPO is responsible for developing and testing the user interface of the first humanoid robot designed to assist individuals with specific needs. This robot will be implemented and tested at three prominent European airports, with the aim of enabling fully autonomous air travel for these individuals.

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