VATICAN CITY, MAY 26, 2005 (VIS) - Made public today was the speech given by Cardinal Javier Lozano Barragan on May 18 in Geneva, Switzerland at the World Health Assembly, the supreme decision-making body of the 192-member World Health Organization (WHO). Cardinal Lozano, president of the Pontifical Council for Health Care Ministry, headed the Holy See delegation which also included Archbishop Silvano Tomasi, permanent observer to the Geneva-based United Nations Office and Specialized Institutions.
Cardinal Lozano conveyed greetings from Pope Benedict XVI who, he said, "is very concerned about health problems in the world, and offers all his support and assistance to the world effort to bring health care to everyone, especially to the most unprotected."
The cardinal went to say that "unfortunately, illnesses, especially infectious ones, are ever more virulent in the poorest countries that, precisely because they are poor, do not have the resources to obtain medicine that, thanks to modern technology, can easily offer some cures. In fact, each year infectious diseases are responsible for the death of 17 million persons, of whom 90 percent live in developing countries." He noted that in many of these countries the medicines to cure certain illnesses cannot even be found.
"It is terrible," added the council president, quoting the 2005 World Health Report on maternal and infant health care, "to note that of the 211 new human beings who were conceived, there were 46 million induced abortions, 32 who died prematurely or at birth and only 133 million reached birth and lived."
Cardinal Lozano, in concluding remarks, said that, "as the Holy See is aware of these and similar problems, John Paul II established the 'Good Samaritan' Foundation' to help the most needy sick people in the world. The new Pope, Benedict XVI, with joy, has ratified this foundation. The initial objective of this foundation has been concretized by buying medicines for the most needy, and we have already been able to bring aid to the sick of 11 African countries, one in Asia and another in Latin America."
CON-AVA/WORLD HEALTH ASSEMBLY/LOZANO VIS 20050527 (340)