Pope Benedict committed to health care for all, especially the poorest, says Cardinal

.- On May 18th, Cardinal Javier Lozano Barragan, president of the Pontifical Council for Health Care Ministry told 192 members of the World Health Assembly that Pope Benedict XVI and the Vatican are committed to help “bring health care to everyone, especially the most unprotected.”

The Holy See made the speech, given to the decision making arm of the World Health Organization (WHO) in Geneva, Switzerland, public yesterday morning, adding that Archbishop Silvio Tomasi, Geneva-based United Nations office permanent observer was also part of the Vatican delegation.

In his speech, Cardinal Lozano conveyed Pope Benedict’s greetings and said that the Holy Father, "is very concerned about health problems in the world,” offering his personal support and assistance in the world effort to provide health care to all.

The Cardinal said that, "unfortunately, illnesses, especially infectious ones, are ever more virulent in the poorest countries that, precisely because they are poor, do not have the resources to obtain medicine that, thanks to modern technology, can easily offer some cures.”

“In fact,” he said, “each year infectious diseases are responsible for the death of 17 million persons, of whom 90 percent live in developing countries." He also lamented that many of these countries cannot even obtain the medicines to cure certain illnesses.

"It is terrible," he added, quoting the 2005 World Health Report on maternal and infant health care, "to note that of the 211 new human beings who were conceived, there were 46 million induced abortions, 32 who died prematurely or at birth and only 133 million reached birth and lived."

In his concluding remarks to the Assembly, Cardinal Lozano affirmed that, "as the Holy See is aware of these and similar problems, John Paul II established the 'Good Samaritan' Foundation' to help the most needy sick people in the world.”

“The new Pope, Benedict XVI,” he said, “with joy, has ratified this foundation. The initial objective of this foundation has been concretized by buying medicines for the most needy, and we have already been able to bring aid to the sick of 11 African countries, one in Asia and another in Latin America."

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