Africa’s Woes Still Ignored, Says Vatican Paper

VATICAN CITY, JUNE 11, 2006 ( The international community continues to ignore the tragedy that consumes Africa on a daily basis, says L’Osservatore Romano.

“Every day 800 African children die, simply because their families cannot afford an appointment with a doctor or basic health care. Very little would be needed to save them,” states a front-page story in Saturday’s Italian edition of the semiofficial Vatican newspaper.

Under the headline “Africa, the Scandal of Poverty,” the article observes: “It would be enough to assume health expenses, which, although entailing a few coins by Western criteria, weigh like lead on African families’ budgets.

“However, despite the good intentions expressed on several occasions in international conferences, in Africa the scandal of poverty continues to reap innocent victims.”

L’Osservatore Romano quotes a report, “Paying With Their Lives,” published by Save the Children United Kingdom, a branch of the Save the Children International Alliance.

The report reveals that the lives of 285,000 children in Africa (almost 800 a day) could be saved every year by meeting basic health expenses.

The article concludes with an appeal to rich countries to keep their commitment to increase development aid and to help lower health costs in poor countries.

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