By Benedetta Capelli
The goal of the joint initiative of the Office of Papal Charities and Rome's San Carlo di Nancy Hospital is to provide life-saving cardiological checkups for those who do not have easy access to them, especially the poor living in the surrounding areas. The outreach is also providing a solidarity of presence for those who often feel alone and abandoned. Many disadvantaged persons have gone to St. Peter's Square since 9 am Monday morning when the mobile clinic opened its doors. Services will continue until 6 pm. The initiative has been dubbed, "The Roads of the Heart", and is coordinated by Cardinal Konrad Krajewski who heads the Office of Papal Charities, the Vatican's charitable office that operates on behalf of the Pope, and medical doctors from the San Carlo di Nancy Hospital in Rome.
Outreach for the most vulnerable
The mobile clinic has been placed next to the left colonnade where free heart and general medical consultations are carried out. The initiative, organized by the hospital, and including involvement from Tiberia Hospital and the Italian Heart Foundation, is itinerant and started on Thursday. It aims to raise awareness on good practices in daily life and the importance of regular check-ups. Cardiovascular diseases are in fact the main cause of death in Italy, accounting for 35.8% of all deaths, with a higher incidence among females: 38.8% compared to 32.5% for males. The percentages increases significantly for those living on the street, especially when compounded by other health challenges.