Health as a common good and sustainability of care systems are topics healthcare operators have to face worldwide, especially with the progressive increase of the average life expectancy and the increased need for care. How can the sick be assisted in an effective and likewise sustainable manner? And also: is there a correlation between spirituality and the global health of a person?
These were the themes discussed in the convention organised by the Health Dialogue Culture, an international network of healthcare practitioners established in 2003 to contribute through a vital dialogue with science, to a culture that respects life and the dignity and integrity of every person, in the perspective of the promotion of social and individual health.
Inspired by the charism of unity of the focolare Movement, Health Dialogue Culture offers room for reflection in connection with practice, from which guidelines are to be drawn as a contribution to the debate on the need to create new paradigms for the healthcare systems. The congress was held as a continuing program with other previous events on the same theme, and particularly with the one held in Padua (Italy) in 2013, entitled What medicine: across globalization, sustainability and personalization of treatments, and with the Letter of Ethics which gathered the results.
Among the new paradigms for the treatment of the sick person, the relational dimension is taking on an increasingly strategic role, that is, the set of relations at multiple levels (with the patients, among healthcare practitioners, and with the institutions) that revolve around the care issue. Long ignored in the drawing up of socio-healthcare models, also the spiritual dimension, wherever applied, has a substantial impact on the quality of life and the treatment outcomes.
The Sao Paolo congress offered a structured programme with reports, labs, workshops, sharing of experiences and good practices, with a fruitful discussion on new methodologies to reach equity and accessibility to healthcare services at local and global levels.
«The real challenge of this convention – the organisers said – was the cultural and professional wealth due to the variety of speakers and participants (over 270) and their coming from countries with the most diverse healthcare standards such as Congo, Cameroon, Norway, Venezuela, Chile, Paraguay, Uruguay, Benin, Amazon, Brazil, Dominican Republic, Spain, the UK, Italy and Austria. Particular attention was paid to the themes of disability, ageing, the methods in treating pain and suffering through palliative treatments and the training of operators (care for the caregivers).
A specific programme was activated during the Congress with interactive sessions for students and young professionals of the biomedical area. A young student of medicine commented at the end of the works: “This congress has changed my ideas on medicine, with new ideas that make me a better person, and with the certainty that they also will make me a better professional.” A Brazilian doctor: “Science is not cold and distant. We have learned that we can practice science without forgetting the essence which unites us: Love.”
Maria Voce, Focolare President, sent a message to the participants with the wish that they would “live their professions with a love that generates fraternity, all tending towards the good of the human family.” She recalled a phrase of Chiara Lubich was recalled: «Equilibrium of love lies in loving each single person next to us and working for the entire community from our own corner of life.”