On September 27, Archbishop Paul Richard Gallagher, Secretary for Relations with States and Head of the Delegation of the Holy See to the 73rd Session of the United Nations General Assembly, gave an intervention during the High Level Meeting entitled “Scaling up multi-stakeholder and multi-sectoral responses for the prevention and control of non-communicable diseases in the context of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.”
In his statement, Archbishop Gallagher said that the Holy See welcomes the attention being given at the UN to the prevention and control of non-communicable diseases (NCDs) to reduce premature mortality and improve quality of life. He said that that NCDs are liked to four main risk factors: tobacco use, alcohol abuse, unhealthy diet, and physical inactivity, unhealthy behaviors that paradoxically can become imitated by the young and impressionable; education toward healthy lifestyles is therefore key. In an increasingly interdependent world, he said, sickness and unhealthy lifestyles can cross boundaries and therefore solidarity and cooperation are practical and ethical necessities. He stressed the important role of faith-based organizations in health care delivery, especially to the poor and marginalized, and said they need for that reason to be included in the formulation of local or national health care plans and receive proper support. The best health care principles and protocols must guide the formulation of health care plans and must include the respect for the right to life from conception until natural death as well as the right to basic health care. He advised engaging experts and institutions toward a reciprocal exchange of knowledge, on the one hand, and concrete actions on behalf of those who suffer on the other.
His statement can be found here.