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Pope Francis with members of  the Italian Federation of Pediatricians Pope Francis with members of the Italian Federation of Pediatricians   (Vatican Media)

Pope to Pediatricians : Ensure equal access to healthcare

Pope Francis on Thursday received in audience, members of the Italian Federation of Pediatricians. In prepared remarks, he urged them to commit themselves to an inclusive form of health care that respects the human body.

For more than forty years the Italian Federation of Pediatricians has supported over 5,500 family pediatricians, offering them expertise from a professional and moral point of view, in the sphere of welfare and social security, as well as in the legal and economic fields. 

The Federation has distinguished itself for its contribution to the foundation of the Italian National Health Service, and over the years has implemented countless health initiatives and has been involved in the upgrading of services offered to citizens. In prepared remarks to the members of the Federation on Thursday, Pope Francis praised their work with babies, children and adolescents, and noted their commitment in the area of training and education.

Inclusive healthcare

“In our time, where many comforts and technological and social developments are paid for with an increasingly invasive impact on the natural dynamics of the human body”, said the Pontiff, “it is urgent to implement a serious program of education promoting health and lifestyles respecting the body, so that progress is not at the expense of the individual.”
During his address, the Pope commented that those who have access to treatment are usually the ones who can afford it. Therefore, he encouraged those gathered to work to ensure that the weakest in society were taken care of in terms of healthcare and prevention. He also encouraged the Federation members to listen their young patients and provide a sense of security to parents.

Look to Jesus

Offering some spiritual advice, Pope Francis invited those present to look to the person of Jesus. “By reading often and rereading the Gospel texts in which Jesus meets and heals the sick, your sense of self and your actions are renewed”, he said. Drawing inspiration from their esteemed colleague and teacher, Dr. Franco Panizon, the Pope spoke of his unconditional dedication to his patients using the quote, ‘Never put your head on the pillow, unless you have done everything in your power for them before’.

Work as mission

Pope Francis concluded, “the work you do is a real mission, involving both the mind and the heart…” He added, “You bear Christian witness, because you seek to practice the values of the Gospel and your sense of belonging to the Church; but also because of the breadth of your gaze, your ability to imagine the right social context and health care system for the future, and your desire to serve, with humility and competence, every person entrusted to you.”

 

21 March 2019, 13:30