An online forum hosted by Catholic Health Australia and the Australian Catholic University will discuss how solidarity and cooperation are key to dealing with the challenges of COVID-19.
The forum, to be held on the World Day of the Sick on February 11, will examine new community strategies to address one of the greatest public and mental health challenges the world has ever faced.
Key speakers at the event; Vaccines, viruses and vulnerabilities: Catholic health and care of the human person, include the Vatican Commission coordinator for COVID-19 response, Sister Carol Keehan and Doctor Brian Kane – Senior Director of Ethics of Catholic Health Association in the United States.
Sr Keehan is the former head of the US Catholic Health Association and was heralded by president Barack Obama as essential in getting the affordable Care Act passed in the US which provided an extra 20 million Americans with health insurance. Dr Kane is considered a global thought leader in the field of academic and clinical bioethics, with a particular interest in palliative care and end of life decision making.
The forum will be moderated by Dr David Kirchhoffer, Director of the Queensland Bioethics Centre. Discussion topics will include the need to maintain both human dignity and scientific rigour.
“We need to focus on the importance of the spiritual component in the care of the sick both for the patient and caregiver and how this is especially true in the pandemic, Sr Keehan said.
“We are doing important work in the Covid-19 commission with an emphasis on the primary goal of equitable distributions of vaccines and treatments globally.
“These are issues that are front and centre of the Catholic health and aged care systems around the world.”
Dr Kane said the past year had highlighted the need to think globally about the sick.
“While much of the developed world is succumbing to individualism over society, the Catholic community must offer an alternative view of the necessity of the Common Good,” he said.