Holy See Commends World Health Organisation's Approach to Climate Change

Also Praises WHO’s Efforts in Field of Autism, Stresses Importance of Breastfeeding

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Pope Francis has called for responsibility on the part of all in pursuing policies that are respectful of the earth which is our common home.

The Pope’s message was conveyed by Archbishop Zygmunt Zimowski, head of the Holy See’s delegation to the 67th World Health Assembly taking place May 19-24 in Geneva. The assembly is the decision-making body of the World Health Organisation.

The archbishop said the Holy See is “cognizant of the devastating impact of climate change, as reported by the WHO Secretariat in various reports and advisories.” He added: “That impact often is estimated in terms of additional financial costs and burden of care to be assumed by both governmental and non-governmental health care structures.”

Climate change also “deeply affects the social and environmental determinants of health, including clear air, safe drinking water, supply of sufficient and nutritious food, and adequate shelter,” he said, stressing that the Pope has expressed his concern regarding exploitation of environmental resources.

“The Holy See delegation is happy to note that the reports before us and the WHO work-plan on climate change and health are part of this much desired rethinking and solidarity,” he continued.

“This growing ecological awareness needs to be helped to develop and mature, and find fitting expression in concrete programmes and initiatives, especially climate-resilient pathways for sustainable development, as well as appropriate transformations in economic, social, technological and political decisions and actions.”

The prelate went on to commend the secretariat for the report on efforts made in the management of autism spectrum disorders, which among others shows progress made in creating awareness, clearing some of the myths surrounding autism, forging partnerships with civil society organisations committed to improving services and setting priorities for national and sub-national action.”

Archbishop Zimowski expressed the Holy See’s wish to contribute to these efforts with an International Conference organized by the Pontifical Council for Health Care Workers, to be held in the Vatican this coming November 20- 22, on the topic: “The Person with Autism Spectrum Disorders: Stir Hope.”

Finally, with regard to with regard to maternal, infant and young child nutrition, the prelate said the delegation was satisfied to note that “breastfeeding has been included as a global target in the strategy and is proposed as a key indicator for monitoring progress towards achieving the targets.

“Breastfeeding is a major protection against early child malnutrition and should therefore be protected and promoted as part of primary healthcare. It should be guaranteed by laws governing workplace practice and there should be acceptance for breastfeeding even in public,” he concluded. (D.C.L.)


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