By Vatican News staff writer
Assuring access to clean water for Catholic health facilities so they can provide care with essential hygiene is a key goal of the Dicastery’s WASH project, first launched last year in coordination with religious congregations, bishops, Caritas Internationalis and Global Water 2020. These efforts have taken on added urgency given the Covid-19 pandemic and additional strain on healthcare facilities in providing emergency and regular services. Clean water access is essential to halting the spread of Covid and other diseases.
The press release provides updates on the work of project partners and their commitment to ensure access to clean water and provide awareness of the importance of safeguarding this essential life-giving element increasingly under threat due to droughts, pollution and waste. The statement reiterates how the Catholic Church has been a committed pioneer of healthcare around the world, irrespective of religion or nationality.
The statement pays tribute to the protagonists at work in the field, such as the Brothers Hospitallers of Saint John of God, known as Fatebenefratelli with 400 social and health care centers in 52 countries. It also thanks the many Bishops conferences, dioceses, congregations and several local Caritas or Catholic charities that have responded to the Dicastery’s call.
A detailed assessment is being carried in approximately 150 Catholic healthcare facilities in 22 countries, looking at costs, what has been done and what still needs to be implemented to sustainably improve WASH conditions and meet proper standards through infrastructure, equipment, maintenance and staff training.
The statement quotes Aloysius John, Secretary General of Caritas Internationalis, who says “these initiatives will help prevent the spread of new diseases and ensure decent care for patients in health care facilities. All over the world, many local Caritas organizations run similar programs ensuring parishes, communities, health centers and schools have the means to protect the health of those they serve”.
News on WASH and related efforts in conjunction for World Water Day on 22 March this year can be found on the Dicastery for Integraly Human Development's website.