11/07/2016, 14.53
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Treating diseases that do not bring economic “benefits”

The challenge is launched to research institutions, political and economic leaders attending the 31st international conference promoted by the Pontifical Council for Pastoral Health Care Workers on the theme "For a Culture of Health welcoming and supportive of people living with rare and neglected diseases".

Vatican City (AsiaNews) - Research institutions, political and economic leaders also need to concern themselves with diseases which either for their rarity or poverty of the environments in which they develop do not guarantee economic returns: This is a task that the Church feels her own and carries on and which is the focus of the 31st international conference promoted by Pontifical Council for Pastoral Health Care Workers on "For a Culture of Health in welcoming and supportive of Persons Service with rare and neglected diseases ", presented today in the Vatican.

Msgr. Jean-Marie Musivi Mupendawatu, secretary of the Pontifical Council, recalled that rare diseases affect about 400 million people and "neglected" diseases (the latter embraces a group of disorders that include leprosy, rabies, leishmaniosis and dengue) over one billion, of which almost half are children.

"Most of them - he said - has an infectious cause, and they have spread in geographical areas in tropical climates where people live without access to drinking water y, poor sanitation, poor housing conditions and reduced access to, or absent health services, in short for a poverty that inflicts serious health burdens on the poorest people in the world' ".

By organizing this conference, which will take place November 10 to 12, the Church intends to "be at the service of the sick and suffering from rare and neglected diseases, offering educational, cultural and pastoral responses, to this challenge. The care and treatment of patients in general and of those suffering from rare and neglected diseases in particular, are an inescapable work of evangelical corporal mercy. This pastoral urgency, with particular attention to the health operators and 'decision makers', located in the ecclesial vision of Pope Francis a renewed momentum, as shown by the various initiatives and actions promoted and carried out in the year in progress of the extraordinary Jubilee of Mercy ".

In particular, the conference aims to “update on the current practices and scientific knowledge as well as clinical care. Improve a welcoming and supportive logic in care for the patient. Preserve the environment in which man lives. "  

The meeting, stressed Father Augusto Chendi, MI, under-secretary of the department, "intends to recall in particular the two fundamental principles that Pope Benedict XVI explicitly reaffirmed in his third encyclical Caritas in Veritate and repeatedly appropriated by Pope Francis – which are the foundations upon which to redefine the coordinates of this pastoral activity, especially regarding social and health efforts both in mission and in the most advanced societies. It is, in particular, the principle of subsidiarity and solidarity, both converging in the pursuit of the common good. In this respect, and regarding the principle of subsidiarity applied to the case of the lesser known tropical diseases (or neglected or forgotten), we perhaps need to overcome an attitude of service that comes from outside or is seen as foreign and seeks, within the limits of what is possible, to cover or to fulfill every need, including healthcare, without asking for an effective collaboration and empowerment of the people who are directly affected. It follows that health policies at global and national level, in the various forms of international collaboration, have to play a role in education, information and training for the people for whom devote adequate medical aid, encouraging the contribution of the populations who are subject to the neglected tropical diseases, despite the difficulties faced, so they may assist in, for example, interventions of a sanitary nature, which can effectively combat the epidemic proliferation of these diseases ".

"The complementary principle of solidarity is more immediately understandable. It explicitly invokes the idea of ​​unity through an active sharing in the situations of others, all others, whomever they be, in feeling responsible for what happens to our brothers in pain, in designing and providing an effective aid as linked by a mutual integration. The ethics of solidarity can not be reduced, then, to the roles sanctioned by social institutions, nor is fulfilled by those who simply do their professional duty. The 'other' is someone who belongs to me and beyond my qualification or their social, economic, religious extraction ... as symbolically emerges from the parable of the Good Samaritan (cfr. Lk 10: 25-37). So our solidarity is not limited in the practice of justice, which mainly moves on the objective level, and  tends towards the equalization of rights and the satisfaction of needs, but largely ignores the deeper dynamics of human desire. Only charity, symbolically highlighted in the attitude of the Lucan Gospel parable, is capable of giving full meaning to human relationships: solidarity assumes, in fact, the contours of sharing (being with) and of the total gift of self ( being -for). Solidarity, as it integrates itself the demands of justice and those of charity, it is therefore the virtue which most radically interprets the questions of meaning and mutual integration between the 'personal' and 'social' dimensions in the context of a dynamic synthesis of service for the full realization of man, of every man, as an individual and collectively in the pursuit of the common good. "

"Advancing in this 'unusual' land, this international conference is intended to reaffirm a specific role and unique part of a new culture that is opening a space in the breach of social and health care world, in which the Church with his pastoral work can not possibly refrain from making its own constructive contribution, and not only practical, for the commendable work done in the past as still present in many realities of mission and in a situation of exclusion as in economically advanced areas, but also cultural, to raise awareness of the political, economic, scientific and pharmacological research ... that invests the conscience of those responsible for the common good, in which the value of healthcare plays a secondary role. "

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