Health Assembly Hears of New Papal Foundation

Aimed at Providing Medicines for the Sick Who Are Poor

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GENEVA, MAY 26, 2005 ( The Holy See recently presented in the World Health Assembly, the decision-making organ of the World Health Organization, a new papal foundation which is making medicines available to needy patients.

The reasons Pope John Paul II established the Good Samaritan Foundation, and Benedict XVI ratified it, were expressed in Geneva by Cardinal Javier Lozano Barragán, president of the Pontifical Council for Health Care Workers.

«Every year, infectious diseases are responsible for the death of 17 million people, 90% of whom live in developing countries,» the cardinal said May 18. «For example, 95% of AIDS patients do not have the money to pay for antiretrovirals.»

«At present the medicines to cure the so-called sicknesses of the poor, as for example tuberculosis, malaria, and smallpox, cannot be found in the markets of some of these countries,» he said.

Together with these health problems, the Vatican official added, «it is terrible to see that out of 211 million new human beings conceived, there are 46 million induced abortions, 32 million babies die prematurely or at birth, and only 133 million are born and live.»

The purpose of the Good Samaritan Foundation is «to purchase medicines for the neediest,» Cardinal Lozano Barragán said. «To date we have already been able to help patients of 11 countries of Africa, one of Asia, and another of Latin America.»

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