“Public Health in Global Perspective. Pandemic, Bioethics, Future” is the theme of the 2021 Assembly of the Pontifical Academy for Life that will take place on site and online on September 27-28-29.

Scholars and experts from five continents will converge in Rome to discuss not only Covid-19 but also the global challenge that the pandemic poses for a more equitable distribution of treatment and health care in the world.

The general theme of the Assembly will be debated, as usual, in a workshop open to the wider public, which will participate online.

Among the experts called to speak, there will be Dr. Jules Hoffman (Nobel Prize for Medicine 2011), Dr. John Nkengasong (Director of the Center for Disease Control, Cameroon), Dr. David Barbe (President of the World Medical Association), Dr. Carissa Etienne (Director of the Pan American Health Association), Dr. Walter Ricciardi (Catholic University of the Sacred Heart).

The workshop aims to reflect on the experience of the pandemic from an ethical perspective, highlighting the medical, ecological and social issues that call for our responsibility and require a conversion, a change of mentality and structures. The goal is to give an original contribution to the important debate on public health and the problems that this health emergency has highlighted, for a deep renewal of society and for a more equitable and sustainable future.

Speaking ahead of the gathering, Archbishop Vincenzo Paglia, President of the Pontifical Academy for Life, said, “For Western countries, the priority is vaccines and we are actually witnessing the greatest vaccination effort ever made in history. However, we must not forget the need to build equitable healthcare on a global scale. The topic at the center of our reflection will then be the future of treatment and healthcare, if we really want to demonstrate that we have learned the lesson of the pandemic. For the majority of the world’s population, in addition to vaccines, the priority is real and effective access to care, but also to the goods that “simply” allow us to live. It is necessary to overcome not only the vaccination divide but also the unequal access to public health, removing barriers such as the lack of facilities and the scarcity of resources for treatment. The pandemic has shown the huge economic and social disparities in healthcare. Recently, several ambassadors to the Holy See have stressed the need to respond to this crisis with useful measures for the future. Vaccination is crucial in the perspective of a global protection against Covid-19 but the key issue concerns the possibility of truly overcoming the inequalities soon, by implementing a global health policy based on the right of everyone to access treatment”.

Guardian of Life Award Ceremony

There will be an audience with Pope Francis on the morning of September 27 and the newly established Guardian of Life award ceremony will take place on the evening of 28 September. The award has been given to Dr. Dale Recinella, a lay chaplain on the death row of Florida’s largest penitentiary, who will attend the proceedings of the assembly.

The complete working program for the assembly is published on the website of the Pontifical Academy for Life:www.academyforlife.va

ENDS