The Pope calls for support for health care workers
- The new Pope Video, which promulgates the prayer intentions which Pope Francis entrusts to the entire Catholic Church through the Pope’s Worldwide Prayer Network, is dedicated to health care workers.
- In the face of the difficulties that so many sick and elderly people face in order to have access to the treatments they need, the Pope is calling for serious political commitment to quality health care for all.
- Beyond the organizational aspect, Francis has reminded us that health care depends above all on “men and women who dedicate their life to taking care of other people’s health,” as we have seen during the pandemic.
(Vatican City, April 5, 2022) – The Pope Video for April has just been released with the prayer intention that Francis is entrusting to the entire Catholic Church through the Pope’s Worldwide Prayer Network. This month, the Holy Father addresses the situation of health care in different countries and asks that “health care workers who serve the sick and the elderly, especially in the poorest countries” may “be adequately supported by governments and local communities.”
The pandemic stress test
The context of the pandemic has revealed the weaknesses of health care systems and the inequality of access to adequate treatment. In his message for April’s prayer intention, Francis says, “The pandemic has also exposed the fact that not everyone has access to a good public healthcare system. The poorest countries, the most vulnerable countries, cannot access the treatments necessary to attend to the countless diseases that they continue to suffer.” According to the “Health at a Glance 2021” by the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), the inadequate situation of health care has had an impact on the care received by the sick. Among the various contributing factors, the lack of health care workers has been more limiting than the number of hospital beds or technical equipment.
A massive effort throughout the world
In such a difficult situation, which has exacerbated existing emergencies, the dedication of health care workers in various projects throughout the world, presented through the images in this Pope Video, has played a decisive role: the “A Vaccine For Us” and “Mothers and Children First” campaigns of Doctors with Africa CUAMM; AVSI’s project in Uganda to bring pregnant women to the hospital on motorbikes; the work of the Hospitaller Order of St. John of God in various countries; the work of the Ministers of the Sick of St. Camillus in Thailand and of the Camillians in Brazil; the health facilities in Bangladesh and Peru of COE, Apurimac ETS, and the Villaregia Missionary Community, member organizations of the FOCSIV. The work of Dr. Erik Jennings Simões, who also appears in this video, deserves special mention. For twenty years he has been serving the native peoples of the Brazilian Amazon, where he brought the first neurosurgery service.
An appeal to governments
Nevertheless, this extraordinary effort cannot be the solution to ensure that everyone in the world has sufficient medical care. “I want to ask the governments of all the countries of the world not to forget that good healthcare, accessible to all, is a priority,” Francis says. If this has not happened yet, he adds, it is often due to “bad resource management and a lack of serious political commitment.”
Fr. Frédéric Fornos, S.J., International Director of the Pope’s Worldwide Prayer Network, commented on this intention: “Pope Francis is always very attentive to people, to the sick, to the elderly, to the most vulnerable. This prayer intention for the entire month of April is dedicated to the health care workers who attend them. They have passed through crisis situations, often without adequate support, especially in countries with fewer resources. The pandemic has shown that health care systems and workers are essential for society. The Pope asks that they be supported with greater resources, especially in countries that have a fragile health care system; otherwise, we will experience ‘other pandemics.’ Let us entrust this prayer intention to the Lord and act take appropriate action.”