May 30, 2011

Global solidarity is needed so that every country can guarantee all of its citizens have access to health care, a Vatican official told the annual assembly of the World Health Organization.

Archbishop Zygmunt Zimowski, president of the Pontifical Council for Health Care Ministry, said nations appear "stalled in the status quo where the rich people have higher levels of coverage, while most of the poor people miss out."

Even those who do have access "often incur high, sometimes catastrophic costs in paying for services and medicine," Zimowski said.

Under Blessed Pope John Paul II and Pope Benedict XVI, he said, the Catholic Church has called for "universal access to medical care."

The archbishop said: "Despite the progress made in some countries, on the whole, we are still a long way from universal coverage."