The Pope praises the work of the Italian Catholic NGO to guarantee medical care in Africa


On Saturday, Pope Francis meets Doctors with Africa CUAMM, an Italian Catholic non-governmental organization committed to promoting healthcare in Africa, on the occasion of their annual meeting in Rome.

By the editor of Vatican News

Formerly known as the University College for Aspiring Medical Missionaries, CUAMM was founded in 1950 and is currently present in seven African countries: Angola, Ethiopia, Mozambique, South Sudan, Sierra Leone, Tanzania and Uganda, working in partnership with African hospitals, nursing and midwifery. schools and universities. His projects and research focus on maternal, child and neonatal health; infectious diseases; universal health coverage and equity; nutrition and chronic diseases.

Welcoming the members of the association to the Vatican on Saturday morning, Pope Francis recalled the history of the group that began 70 years ago in Padua, Italy, when a hostel was opened to house young African medical students. Since then, this outreach of sharing and service has expanded to the entire African continent providing healthcare, local training and promoting development.

Health, a primary good

The Pope described the work of CUAMM as a concrete example of putting into practice what we ask for in the Our Father, “Give us today our daily bread”, in this case bread means health. The Pope pointed out that health is “a primary good” like bread, water, a house or work. He praised his efforts to provide access to basic medical care and the testimony he gives in contrast to the billions spent on weapons today. However, the needs are enormous, and he recalled how many others are still unable to deliver their babies safely and children continue to die in early childhood.

Central African Republic and South Sudan

Recalling his visit to the Central African Republic in 2015 to open the Holy Door in the capital Bangui, the Pope also recalled the South Sudan that he hopes to visit early next year. Like poor and fragile countries, often exploited for resources, the Pope said that “instead, the Lord considers his loved ones, whom he sends to be good Samaritans, witnesses of his Gospel.”

“Do not be afraid to face difficult challenges, to intervene in remote places marked by violence, where populations do not have the opportunity to care. Be with them! If it takes years of hard work, if there are successive disappointments and failure to achieve results, do not be discouraged. Persevere in obstinate service and dialogue, open to all as instruments of peace in overcoming conflicts”.

Working together

The Pope also paid tribute to how CUAMM works in Africa always in collaboration with local churches and institutions to more effectively share, support and promote the communities they serve in Africa. By joining forces and sharing experiences and knowledge, they can better serve everyone, he pointed out, especially when they are put to the test as with the covid pandemic, wars and the economic crisis that weigh heavily on everyone’s lives, worsening poverty, the hunger and malnutrition. The pope described it as a hidden “war” that is often overlooked and “instead hits the hardest, especially on the poorest.”

“May the Lord help you to go through this “night” with courage, with your heart turned towards the dawn, which will illuminate those small sprouts of hope that we already glimpse and of which you yourselves are witnesses. I thank you for being a voice of what Africa is experiencing; for bringing to the surface the hidden and silent sufferings of the poor that you encounter in your daily commitment”.

He urged them to continue giving Africa a voice, promoting awareness, telling the world about their struggles and hopes “to remove the awareness of a world that is sometimes too focused on itself and little on the other. The Lord listens to the cry of the oppressed peoples of him and asks us to be the architects of a new future, humble and tenacious, with the poorest ”.

forming leaders

In conclusion, the Pope encouraged them to focus especially on young people, encouraging them in every way through formation, meetings, university exchanges, etc., so that they are present and future protagonists of good in their countries of origin, forming capable leaders. to promote integral human development.


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