Prelate Calls for Equitable, Human Health Care

Conference Applies «Caritas in Veritate» to Medical Industry

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VATICAN CITY, NOV. 17, 2010 ( Archbishop Zygmunt Zimowski is underlining the need for human health care for all, following the principles outlined in «Caritas in Veritate.»

The president of the Pontifical Council for Health Care Ministry said in a press conference Monday that «the present inequalities in health care call for undertaking courageous action without delay.»
The press conference was called to present an international conference, which begins Thursday in Rome, on the topic «For Equitable and Human Health Care in the Light of the Encyclical ‘Caritas in Veritate.'»
This two-day academic event will include the participation of Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, Benedict XVI’s secretary of state; Cardinal Renato Raffaele Martino, former president of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace; and current president of this dicastery, Cardinal Peter Turkson.
Archbishop Zimowski said that it is increasingly difficult to reconcile «economic, scientific and technical progress with the persistent inequality of access to health services, which is a fundamental human right.»
He also lamented the «continuous inequalities between the health systems of rich countries and those of developing countries and, worse still, of those called underdeveloped.»
The prelate pointed out how even in rich countries there are also «great differences in access to health care.»
«Many poor people and immigrants do not have access to medicine and other technologies to save lives, because of so-called inaccessible or scarce existing health infrastructures in the respective nations,» he continued.
Archbishop Zimowski announced that this conference, guided by the lines in «Caritas in Veritate» dedicated to health, «will examine among other things, the basic prospects for a more human and equitable promotion of health.»

Domenico Adruni, a professor of gynecology and obstetrics, said that the conference is an attempt «to put man and the patient again at the center of our interest.»

In this way, he said, we will become aware that «something is missing in the more advanced nations as well as in the less fortunate ones,» though he clarified that the latter «perhaps are more fortunate from the human point of view, and always call for greater attention.»
Adruni will take part in the conference’s round table on equitable and human health care.
Franciscan Father Maurizio Faggioni, docent of bioethics in Rome’s Alphonsian Academy, said that the conference aims to show the topic of health as «a natural human right, founded on the person, his dignity, and looking at the other.»
Monsignor Jean-Marie Mpendawatu, undersecretary of the Pontifical Council for Health Care Ministry, presented some statistics on the topic: «Whereas in Italy births assisted by qualified health personnel reach 99%, in Ethiopia, 6% of pregnant women have this possibility, in Uganda 42% and in Laos 20%.
Archbishop Zimowski expressed the hope that this conference «will throw light on the way to improve access to the equality so desired of basic health care and that it be, at the same time, respectful of the inalienable dignity of man.»

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