What is the National Center of Infectious and Parasitic Diseases today?

The National Center of Infectious and Parasitic Diseases (NCIPD) is a national institution with the status of scientific organization under the Ministry of Health. It's aim is to develop the scientific foundations of the fight against infectious diseases and methods for its implementation. This determines the intensive research on etiopathogenesis, immune reactivity, epidemiological features, laboratory diagnostics, treatment and immunoprophylaxis of bacterial and viral, including nosocomial, and parasitic infections.

NCIPD is the only non-university institution in the country that has been accredited since 1999 by the National Evaluation and Accreditation Agency (NEAA) at the Council of Ministers of the Republic of Bulgaria, as a university in the field of infectology with the rights to train PhD students and conduct postgraduate training in epidemiology, microbiology, virology, parasitology, and immunology and allergy. Long tradition is annually organizing dozens of training courses for specialists from the country and abroad with several hundred participants.

The NCIPD hosts all National Reference Laboratories (NRLs) for various bacterial, viral, and parasitic infections. Laboratory test Complex (LTC), which is for now the only in our country accredited by the Bulgarian Accreditation Service (BAS) in 2003 under the European requirements of standard BS EN ISO 17025 for quality of work. NRLs are under permanent international external laboratory control of the German accreditation system Instand.

Since 1998 the NCIPD, through the National Reference Laboratories, is conducting a National External Laboratory Control for the Quality of Laboratory Diagnostics carried out by all Microbiological, Virological and Parasitological Laboratories in the country, which, upon successful outcome, allows them to conclude contracts with the National Health Insurance Fund.

Since 2007, the NCIPD has been designated as a World Health Organization (WHO) Collaborating Center of the United Nations on epidemiological surveillance of communicable diseases and antibiotic resistance with the task of responding in these areas and training personnel for Southeast European and Asian countries former USSR.

In 2007 NCIPD was designated by the European Center for Disease Control (ECDC) in Stockholm as the leading, competent national organization, etc. "National competent body" in the field of infectious and parasitic diseases.

NCIPD, together with the Ministry of Health, performs daily extensive antiepidemic and organizational - methodical activity based on highly qualified expert and consultative assistance, specialized laboratory diagnostics, organization of workshops, seminars, etc., the issue of specialized research and scientific journals as Problems of Infectious and Parasitic Diseases, newsletter and other informational and educational materials.

In the NCIPD laboratory-production activity are several original biological derivates for the national healthcare and export needs: allergen preparations for diagnostics and immunotherapy of allergic diseases, monoclonal antibodies to determine the blood group substances and lymphocyte markers and preparations for the diagnosis of parasitic infections. They are produced under Good Manufacturing Practice conditions, according to the requirements of the European Pharmacopoeia and ISO 9001/9000 standard.

The NCIPD implements a broad international cooperation in the field of research, postgraduate education and anti-epidemic surveillance of communicable diseases with WHO, ESC, UN Global Fund, Phare, Copernicus, Interreg, Tempus, NATO and a number of foreign universities and institutes on a bilateral or multilateral basis.

All of the above mentioned convincingly shows the very important and responsible position occupied by NCIPD in the national and international healthcare systems and fully corresponds to the motto, perceived and implemented daily by its associates: "In the name of science – for the good of the people".

NCIPD is the oldest scientific and practical institute in the field of healthcare in Bulgaria. Established in 1881, immediately after Bulgaria's liberation from Ottoman domination, it launched the modern struggle against contagious and parasitic diseases in the country based on the latest achievements of world science. Construction and equipment of the current NCIPD building done with the financial support of the Rockefeller Foundation in 1932-1935 significantly contributes in this respect.

On the basis of more than 139 years of development, the broad national and international reputation, built through the years, NCIPD today is a major national health unit, whose collaborators are developing scientific bases and methodical approaches for successful control of communicable diseases – their etiopathogenesis, epidemiology, laboratory diagnosis, immunotherapy and specific and non-specific immuno-prophylaxis, according to the latest achievements of science and the requirements of the WHO and the European Union.

In this respect, many long-standing traditions, continuity, broad international contacts and very good laboratory facilities at NCIPD have contributed to this, as well as the high requirements to be met by the specialists working there. All this facts make the NCIPD a very authoritative and respected national and international research and applied research institution. Special attention should be made on the complex, multidisciplinary approach in solving all scientific and practical problems and tasks in the fight against infectious and parasitic diseases based on the close cooperation between specialists from different fields: epidemiologists, microbiologists, virologists, parasitologists, immunologists, chemists, biochemists, veterinarians and others working in the NCIPD, which is a guarantee of success.

The main activities of NCIPD include:

  • Research activity;
  • Training of students and mainly graduate and doctoral students in the line of SDO;
  • Reference laboratory diagnosis and expertise;
  • Organizational and methodical assistance to Regional Health Inspectorates (RHIs) and all other healthcare facilities in the country and publishing activities in the field of infectious diseases;
  • Production of certain biological preparations for diagnostics, therapy and immuno-prophylaxis.


The project to build a state institute for the training of medical microbiologists and to conduct epidemiological research was on the agenda of the Department of Public Health (the Ministry of Interior) in the early 20s of the twentieth century. The lack of financial resources for its construction and the disputes between the Directorate and the Faculty of Medicine on the status and structure of the Institute hinder its realization.

In 1926, the Department of Public Health made a request to the Rockefeller Foundation, through the Director of the Health Department of the Fund for Europe S. Gun, to help build the institute.

At that time disagreements about what the purpose and public commitments of the future institute are exist in Bulgaria. The Foundation does not commit to a pledge of financial support, but talks with the Bulgarian institutions continue. The Foundation's conditions are for the state to take up 50% of the value of the building, the institute to be an autonomous research center as well as center for staff training for practical sanitary activities.

Adoption of a special Building and Furniture Act of the Institute for Public Health (Sofia 1931) regulates the controversial points and provides for the total cost of construction and equipment to amount to 40 mln. gold BGN to be shared between the state and the Rockefeller Foundation. The institute is an autonomous body and its purpose is to provide special training to medical doctors and health care staff in dealing with communicable diseases.

The plan and distribution of services at the Institute are conducted under the management of the Directors of the National Health Institutes in Budapest and Prague, Dr. Bela Yohani and Dr. Feierabend, sent by the Rockefeller Foundation in Bulgaria.

The construction is delayed almost two years. There are financial and administrative problems. To reassure the Foundation's representatives, a Building Committee is set up to monitor construction work and report costs in Paris. Rules for the management of the “Foundation for Support, Equipment and Maintenance of the Institute of Public Health”, was approved by the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Public Health on 08.09.1934. The same year dr. Ralph Collins - Permanent Representative of the Rockefeller Foundation for the Balkans was appointed as a Director of the Institute for a period of 3 years, as proposed by the Ministry of National Defense.

Before the end of the construction – 1936, serious disagreements arose between the Department of Public Health of the Ministry and the Rockefeller Foundation concerning unlawful merger in the departments of the institute, and Dr. Collins was recalled from Sofia. Further stress arised between the Foundation and the Ministry of National Education and Religious Affairs concerning the refusal to appoint Dr. Iv. Balkanski proposed by Dr. Collins as a Director of the Institute, and the decision to use one floor of the building of the Institute for Administrative Needs of the Ministry. In 1938 the cooperation with the Bulgarian institutions was terminated.

Finally, the Rockefeller Foundation fulfills its financial commitments to build the Institute in Sofia and disburses a pre-agreed amount of 19 million BGN.

Citation "Encyclopedia of Donation Funds and Foundations in Bulgaria 1878-1951 Volume III" Veska Nikolova, Rositsa Stoyanova 2011; VIII: 562-563

 The staff of the Center is grateful to the Rockefeller Foundation and the American people for their support!

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