Congress “We are community care”. Bishop Paglia. Equity in health and well-being. -Vatican news

The treatment and transformation of the health system to provide a unified standard of care is one of the prerequisites raised by the president of the Pontifical Academy of Life, participating in today’s international congress “Somos Community Care” in Madrid.


The watchwords of a health system focused on the welfare of citizens and patients should be solidarity, the right balance between prevention-oriented health education, regional medicine and hospital centers, continuity of care and integration.

This was reiterated by Monsignor Vincenzo Paglia, president of the Pontifical Academy of Life, in his introductory speech on the second day of the international congress of the medical organization “Somos Community Care” in Madrid this October 6. Monsignor Paglia knows the reality of “Somos Community Care”, which he visited in Brooklyn, New York in March of this year.

Access to health for all

Monsignor Paglia referred to “Health and Health Equity. Treatment and transformation of the system to offer a uniform standard of care. The Covid-19 pandemic, Monsignor Paglia explained, has confronted us with complex issues related to the doctor-patient relationship, the equity of access to care, the relationship between costs and benefits, and the distribution of economic resources in health care.

Enumerating the various concrete elements of a human-scale vision of medicine and care, Monsignor Paglia pointed out that “it is in the context of the doctor-patient relationship that the general practitioner will be able to prudently reduce the waste of medicines and services. and help the patient create lifestyle and health management options that are as preventive as possible against disease and lead them to take responsibility for their own health and that of others.”

Balanced use of resources

As for the fair and balanced use of resources, “with the cost/benefit logic, a condition must first be established,” Monsignor Paglia explained. He added that if we put economic risk on one side of the balance and life by one person. to another, any economic cost can be justified. Therefore, it is necessary to be clear about the superiority of the human person even in the economic sphere.

“It is true that the state’s resources are not infinite, but this fact implies that in the field of accessibility, options should be prioritized, starting with human supremacy, to which economic values ​​should be subordinated. Before saying that there are no funds, it is also necessary to carefully check how they are used,” the Vatican leader emphasized.

Risks and benefits in medical ethics

Regarding the relationship between the risks and benefits of the treatment, the president of the Patriarchal Academy of Life stated that it is necessary to consider the criterion of “diagnostic-therapeutic and ethical proportionality, which rather refers to the characteristics of the treatment (including: cost, availability, difficulty of administration; ..) and the diagnostic-therapeutic effectiveness on health and life, also taking into account the costs and suffering that the medical maneuver causes the patient”.

At the beginning of the epidemic, Monsignor Paglia pointed out, “care in hospitals, however, diverted attention from other care facilities. For example, nursing homes were greatly affected by the epidemic, and personal protective equipment and evidence were only made available in sufficient quantities. quantities at a late stage.” Furthermore, “the role of GPs has been neglected in many countries, when for many they are the first point of contact with the care system”.

The Covid-19 experience

The “vulnerability” of people, health and economic systems, essentially “common vulnerability”, requires “international cooperation and coordination, knowing that it is not possible to face the epidemic without an adequate health infrastructure, accessible to everyone worldwide”. The spread of the Covid-19 vaccine is an example of this.

“The only acceptable goal consistent with an equitable vaccine supply is access for all without exception. And the motivation for this universal access cannot be (only) personal interest in protecting against virus variants. What is needed? Therefore, it is an alliance between science and humanism that must be integrated and not separated or, worse, opposed,” Monsignor Paglia added.

Solidarity antibodies

An emergency situation like Covid-19 is first of all overcome by the antibodies of solidarity, the leader assured. Technical and clinical deterrence must be integrated into a broad and deep search for the common good, which must counter the tendency to select advantages for the privileged and segregate the vulnerable on the basis of citizenship, income, politics, age.”

Do not leave the patient. palliative care

In any case, “we must never abandon the patient, even when there are no more cures; palliative care, pain management and support are requirements that should never be overlooked.” Also in matters of public health, the experience we are living through, and which we hope is behind us, at least in its most dramatic aspects, requires serious reconsideration. It is about a balance between a preventive and therapeutic approach, individual medicine and the collective dimension (taking into account the close correlation between personal health and rights and public health)”.

“The brotherhood indicated by the Gospel can be multiplied by many other passages and direct messages of Jesus. But it’s time to take a step forward. a true global community united under the banner of brotherhood. Barriers do not exist, we put them up, and they are destined to be, unfortunately, ineffective and even pointless in the face of global emergencies,” Monsignor Paglia concluded.

A patient care community

WE ARE COMMUNITY CARE” is a network of more than 2,500 physicians practicing in New York City, particularly in the Bronx, Queens, Manhattan and Brooklyn. It is one of the institutions selected by New York State to launch the initiative Medicaid, the US government’s health insurance to help low-income people pay for health care. It serves more than 650,000 patients from mostly underserved communities, including many Asian and Hispanic immigrants.

SOMOS Community Care consists exclusively of doctors, all of whom are integrated into the community where they practice their profession and provide their services in the language of their patients. Other characteristics of the care provided are attention to the social needs of the target population and special attention to direct contact between doctor and patient.

(Source: Pontifical Academy of Life)

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