THE BALKAN MEDICAL UNION (BMU)
RESULT OF THE MULTILATERAL COOPERATION AMONG BALKAN COUNTRIES
Soon after that the crisis of the Ist World War passed the Balkan countries made efforts to find their ways to ensure the national independence and territorial integrity in the context of the contradictions between the great powers.
In August 1927 at the Conference of the Inter-parliamentary Union held at
the Palace of Luxembourg (Paris) representatives of the parliaments of Greece and Romania proposed\
the creation of regional parliaments of South-Eastern Europe, under the auspices of the Inter-Parliamentary
Union, without any result.
In September 1929,at the Inter-parliamentary Conference for Trade (Berlin),
Georgios Cefanderidis (former Greek prime minister) proposed the organisation of inter-Balkan countries,
again without any result.
In October 1929, at the 27th Congress of the Universal Peace (Paris),
Papanastasiou (Greek Prime Minister) and M. Ralea (Romanian MP) supported the idea of holding conferences
for the Balkan peace and cooperation in the Balkans, an idea which was accepted.
The first Balkan Conference was held in Athens on 5 October 1930, and delegates of the Balkan
countries, the League of Nations, the International Peace Bureau and the International Labour Office
attended with the goal of economic cooperation, social, political, intellectual and consolidation of
the South-Eastern Europe independence.
On this occasion the statute was approved, a Permanent Council and Information Office were formed
comprising delegates of each country and the Resolution for peace and cooperation in the Balkans was
adopted. Furthermore, the Office of Health Information was formed and the organisation of a Balkan
Medical Conference was established along with the publication of a Health Information Bulletin.
At the second Balkan Conference held in Istanbul in October 1931, the multilateral pact of
friendship and arbitration was adopted and the Balkan countries desire for disarmament and
strengthening of peaceful relations between nations was expressed.
From 22 to 27 October 1932 the IIIrd Balkan Conference took place in Bucharest. On this occasion
a multilateral Balkan project was developed and adopted in order to provide non-recourse to war,
friendly solutions of disputes and a mutual assistance between countries in case of conflict.
Dr. Doc. Mitica Popescu-Buzeu presented here a report considering the formation of a "Balkan Medical Confederation" (established at the Conference of Athens), which was accepted as the "Balkan Medical Union" (BMU) on 24 October 1932. The report stated the followings:
- the aims of the BMU: relationships between doctors and scientists, medical research and the organisation of scientific events;
- the establishment of national divisions in each Balkan country: Albania, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Greece, Yugoslavia, Romania, Turkey, Republic of Moldova (from 1993), directed by a board composed of a president, a vice-president and a secretary - members)
- the creation of a General Council composed of the presidents of each national section;
The statute that was adopted provided:
- headquarters in Bucharest;
- Secretary: Dr. Doc. M. Popescu-Buzeu (from 1936 - the Secretary General);
- President: President of the National Council which organises the scientific event;
- language: French (in 1988 English was decided to be the second language);
- the organisation of Balkan Medical Weeks each two years;
- the emblem and motto: Health, Friendship, Peace
- publications of the BMU
At the first meeting of the General Council in Belgrade (September 1933) on the occasion of the IInd Balkan Medical Week, the decisions taken on 24 October 1932 at Bucharest were approved. During the 37 or more meetings that followed, the General Council coordinated all the activities of the BMU regarding the scientific events, publications, collaboration with other international medical organisations, and the election of the secretary general.
THE BMU ACTIVITY
From 1932 to 1936, the BMU had a normal activity, organising five Balkan Medical Weeks in various countries.
From 1937 to 1962, the activity was ceased due to the IInd World War.
From 1957 to 1961, were undertaken steps for the resumption of its activity.
Dr. Doc. M.Popescu-Buzeu initiated meetings with each Balkan country and prepared a monograph:
"The BMU - Its genesis, activity and the resumption of work"(1962), distributed in all the
The first meeting was in Bucharest (1957), at the initiative of Dr. M.Popescu-Buzeu,
involving Greece, Turkey and Yugoslavia. As a consequence to the Bulgaria-Turkey and Istanbul
meetings, and thereafter Romanian and Bulgarian meeting at Sofia in
1960, there was created an
Initiative Board for the organisation of the VIIth Balkan Medical Week.
After organising the VIth Balkan Medical Week on 12 – 19 May 1962 Bucharest overtook the leadership of the BMU, and the followings were established:
- the creation of 14 medical divisions, including all the specialties, as well as dentistry and pharmacy, and a medical board for each specialty;
- topics for future meetings
The Balkan Medical Weeks (BMWs)
Since the foundation of the BMU up to the present there were held 30 BMWs, with the exception
of the 1937-1961 period (cessation of activity).
The first BMW took place in early October 1932 in Athens (just before the foundation of the BMU).
The following BMWs were held in Bulgaria (6), Greece (5), Yugoslavia (4), Moldova (2), Romania (6) and Turkey (7).
The presented topics referred to: collaboration regarding health issues, hygiene, malaria in the
Balkans, the genito-urinary tract infections and sexually transmitted diseases, tuberculosis, medical
and surgical emergencies, immunology, medical technology, demography, medical informatics, medical
and dental news etc.
The Balkan Medical Days (BMDs)
The BMDs started to be organised in 1967, following the decision of the General Council in
(Sofia), every two years, alternating with the BMW. The first BMD took place in Bucharest on
22-25 October 1967 .
From 1967 to 2008, there was a number of 17 BMDs held in: Bulgaria (2), Greece (4), Romania (7),
Turkey (3) and France (1).
The topics were orientated on the pharmaceutical research, tropical diseases, leukaemia, endemic
goitre, medical news, Medicine during the period 1981-1990, food, urban development, hypertension,
lung diseases, immunological disorders, etc.
The International Training Courses (ITC)
The ITC started in 1967, being organised together with the BMDs or independently, and they were
focused on the medico-pharmaceutical news and high specialisation .
From 1967 to 1997, 24 ITCs were held in: Albania (1), Bulgaria (2), Cyprus (2), Greece (3),
Yugoslavia (1), Romania (9), Turkey (2), Republic of Moldova (1), France (1) and Italy (1) and the
main topics were: medical updates, dentistry, pharmacy and basic sciences, food related
toxi-infections, polytraumas, bone diseases, early diagnosis of cancer, parasitoses in the Balkan
and Mediterranean areas, etc.
The 71 scientific events organised over the 76 years of activity took place in Albania (1), Bulgaria (10), Cyprus (2), Greece (12), Yugoslavia (5), Moldova (3), Romania (22), Turkey (12), France (2) and Italy (2).
At the 3-rd BMW (1935) the "Bulletin of the BMU" was published in Bucharest under the
editorship of M. Popescu Buzeu.
On 1st January 1939 there was published the first issue of
"Archives of Balkan Medicine, Surgery and Specialties" ,
were Chryssikos J., and A. M. Yoel Hadjigeorges in Ed.Masson
et Cie (Paris) wrote articles. It became the "Balkan Medical
Archives" in 1963 published
in Bucharest and since 1997: "Archives of the Balkan Medical Union", also published in Bucharest .
In addition, there were published: the monograph "Genesis of the BMU, its activity and the resumption of its work" by M. Popescu-Buzeu (1962), "Yearbook of the BMU" (1969) which appeared every 2-4 years and "Collection of works and scientific events of the BMU" (1972).
BALKAN MEDICAL UNION – MEDITERRANEAN MEDICAL ENTENTE (MME)
In 1952 at Toulouse the "Latin Mediterranean Medical Union (LMMU)" was formed, and in 1956 at Damascus
"The Union of Arab Doctors."
At the VIIIth BMW (Greece - Kos Island, September 1966), Prof. Michelangelo Sorrentino
supported the idea of bringing together the BMU and the LMMU to exchange medical information and
participation at congresses. The collaboration started in
The Vth ITC was held at Nicosia (25-26 March 1970) together with the "Medical Days of the
Near and Middle East (Beirut)". Prof. P. Ponthus supported the collaboration between the BMU
and the AMU.
On the 3rd September 1970 at the 8-th Session of BMDs, the General Assembly approved these
two projects concerning the "agreement" between these three organisations.
Athens, 16 September 1973: The General Council delegated Acad. A. I. Hadgioloff and
Dr. Doc. M. Popescu-Buzeu as representatives of the BMU to take part at the "Medical Days of the
Near and Middle East" held in Ispahan-Iran on 14 April
1974. There were also present the AMU and
LMMU. The founding of the Medical Mediterranean Entente (BMU-LMMU-AMU) was ratified; the
Charter of the MME approved, and decided the organisation of the Congress at every three years .
At the First Congress of the MME that took place between
29 March and 2 April 1980 in
Damascus-Syria, the Statute was approved: the headquarters (Bucharest), the General Secretary
(M. Popescu-Buzeu) and the publication of the Bulletin of the MME (Bucharest).
From 1980 to 1992, there were held 6 Congresses of the MME. After few years of cessation, the Congresses of the MME started to be organised again: 2001 - Barcelona (Spain), 2004 - Oradea (Romania), 2007 - Alicante (Spain).
OTHER COLLABORATIONS OF THE BMU
The BMU collaborated with 24 scientific medical organisations outside the Balkans, including
the World Health Organization, the National Medical Academy of France, the International
Association for Medical and Cultural Research (IAMCR) - Paris, the Medical Association of
French Language in Lyon, Montreal and Paris, the International Association of Stomatology
(IAS) - Paris, the International Society of the History of Medicine (Montpellier), the
International Committee of Military Medicine (Liege), the Institute "Gustave-Roussy (Villejuif),
the World Medical Association (FERNAY-Voltaire-France), Institute of Health Sciences (Paris),
etc. BMU established collaboration agreements on various issues as health problems, hygiene,
medical updates, scientific events, etc.
Dr. Doc. Mitica POPESCU-BUZEU (1901-1991)
We believe that we should highlight the personality of M. Popescu-Buzeu and his contribution to the founding and development of the BMU .
Born on 1 December 1901 at Niscov (Buzau, Romania), after successfully finishing primary school and high school, he studied at the University of Medicine, Bucharest (in the framework of the Military Medical Institute). He became a medical trainee in Urology and since
1940, Chief of Urology, Central Military Hospital (CMH), Bucharest.
He participated at the 2nd World War and he was decorated several times. In
1947 he retired from the Army
In what concerns the BMU he had a remarkable contribution.
On 24 October 1932 he presented the report of the founding
of the BMU, the draft law and the organisation. He was
re-elected Secretary and, since 1936 Secretary General. The
BMU was considered "his child".
In 1984 he suffered a stroke and stopped his activity. From
1984 to 1986 Dr. A. Karassi took over and from
1987 to 1988 M. Popescu-Buzeu returned to his activity. In
1988 M. Popescu-Buzeu was elected "Honorary President" of the BMU. His death occurred on 26
M. Popescu-Buzeu was an excellent organiser; he contributed directly to the founding of the BMU, organising its activities, publications, collaborations with other international medical organisations as well as contributing to the founding of the Mediterranean Medical Entente.
His remarkable scientific activity consisted in more than 300 scientific works, he was the Secretary of the Romanian Society of Urology and organised the IXth International Congress of Military Medicine and Pharmacy (Bucharest,
For his prodigious work he received Romanian war decorations: "The Commemorative Cross 1916-1918 (16 years), the order "Cross of the Queen Marie I and II class", the medal "The crusade against Bolshevism" the order "Star of Romania V class with sword and ribbon under the military virtue", as well as foreign decorations: "The order George I (Greece)", "The Medal of gold from Association of Surgeons of the U.S. officers", " The crown of Italy to the rank of knight ", and" The Legion of Honour to the rank of knight" (France).
Dr. Doc. Mitica Popescu-Buzeu undoubtedly remains in the gallery of the great personalities of the founders, organisers, facilitators and leaders of medical institutions. He is an outstanding personality who completed his duties and who is an example for young people and members of the BMU. He had the qualities of a brilliant organiser and leader, with an excellent and inexhaustible energy, honest, modest, a person of high standards and even intransigent, responsible for his actions and an ardent patriot.
PERSONALITIES WHO CONTRIBUTED TO THE BMU
Among the personalities who contributed to the smooth functioning of the BMU it is worth to mention:
- Secretary General: Dr Mitica Popescu-Buzeu (1932-1984, 1986-1988), Dr. Arthur Karassi (1984-1986); Prof. Patru Firu (1988-1997); Prof. Vasile Candea (1997 - 2013) Prof Vasile Sarbu (2013-2016), apoi Dr. Camelia Diaconu (2016- ).
- Members and organisers of scientific events: Albania: Y. Popa, Bulgaria: Pallinoff, A.I.Hadgioloff, A. Malev, Tachev T., Petrov, Iv.Vassiliev, Iv.Goranov, St.Baev, V. Alexandrov, Fany Ribarova; Cyprus: V. Lyssarides, K. Bekiroglu; Greece: N. Bensis, Oeconomos, I. Stergiopoulos, Niki Agnantis, I. Karaitianos; Yugoslavia: Markovic I., Petrovic, A. Karmakay, C. Ilic, J. Vasilievic; Romania: N. Gheorghiu, Gr.Benetato, C. Combiescu, St.Milcu, V. Prodescu, M. Bals, I. Turai, N. Angelescu, T. Maghiar, C. Sabetay, Camelia Diaconu; Turkey: A. Mouchtar, Rifat N., K.I.Gurkan, C. Oner, Gotsel, M.H.Altug, S. Ones, S. Erguney; Republic of Moldova: Gh.Ghidirim, Gh.Ciobanu; France: J. Huber, M. Huguier; Italy: A. Benanio.