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The Holy See on Wednesday advocated for affordable, universal health coverage at the 65th World Health Assembly in Geneva. However, the Church reminded the Assembly the role of the private sphere cannot be ignored.
“At the level of each single nation, the progress towards universal coverage cannot be the effort of the state machinery alone,” said Archbishop Zygmunt Zimowski, head of the Holy See Delegation. “It requires support from the civil society and communities, whose contribution to health service delivery is fundamental.”
Archbishop Zimowski, who serves as the President of the Pontifical Council for the Pastoral Care of Health Care Workers, said the Catholic Church one of the key partners in healthcare delivery, especially in the developing world. He told the Assembly that religiously-affiliated healthcare workers should be allowed to follow their consciences as they provide care.
The goal of the International Community is to enable everyone to access health services without running the risk of financial hardship in doing so (WHA58.33). Despite the progress made in some countries, we are still a long way from this target. There is need therefore for greater commitment at all levels in order to ensure that the right to health care is rendered effective by furthering access to basic health care. In this regard, the Holy See delegation supports the integration of universal coverage in high-level meetings related to health or social development, as well as its inclusion as a priority in the global development agenda.