Official underlines support for universal health care

Monday, February 04, 2019 - Updated: 4:47 pm

GENEVA (CNS) — The Vatican supports efforts to build stronger and sustainable essential health care services on the way toward achieving universal health coverage, a Vatican official said.

The Catholic Church is part of this effort to provide primary care to people in need and always “with due recognition to the sacredness of human life, from conception to natural death,” said Archbishop Ivan Jurkovic, Vatican observer to U.N. agencies in Geneva.

Speaking to the executive board of the World Health Organization Jan. 28, the archbishop noted the organization’s call for a renewal of primary health care and the Sustainable Development Goals’ target of universal health coverage to “ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages.”

“The Holy See affirms the call to mobilize all stakeholders to take joint action to build stronger and sustainable primary health care toward achieving universal health coverage,” he said in a brief address.

In fact, over the course of 2018, “Catholic-inspired organizations provided health care at 5,287 hospitals and 15,397 dispensaries, 15,722 residential programs for the elderly and for persons living with debilitating chronic illnesses and other disabilities in all parts of the world,” he said.

He repeated Pope Francis’ message observing International Universal Health Coverage Day in 2018 in which he underlined “the right of all to have access to health care as a means of fostering the value of justice and the common good, which at the same time is the good of all and of everyone in particular.”

The Geneva meeting of WHO leadership was part of a series of preparatory gatherings for the first-ever United Nations’ high-level meeting on universal health coverage planned for Sept. 23 during the 2019 meeting of the U.N. General Assembly.

The meeting, dedicated to the theme, “Universal Health Coverage: Moving Together to Build a Healthier World,” is geared to inspiring global action to achieve universal health coverage by 2030 as part of the 2030 Agenda and its Sustainable Development Goals.

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