More than 500 leading scientific researchers, Catholic officials and policy makers from around the globe gathered at the Vatican on November 10-12, 2016, to address neglected tropical diseases (NTDs) and rare diseases. The Pontifical Council for Health Care Workers, which was established by Pope John Paul II to help coordinate the Vatican’s health care related activities, convened the conference. Sabin Vaccine Institute President Dr. Peter Hotez gave the keynote address on NTDs. At the conclusion of the conference, remarks from Pope Francis were shared with conference participants. These remarks highlighted how the effort to control and eliminate NTDs aligns with the Catholic Church’s social teachings, and called for international commitment to treating and preventing NTDs and rare diseases. The complete transcript of Pope Francis’s remarks are below.

Sabin Vaccine Institute President Dr. Peter Hotez gave the keynote address on NTDs at the Pontifical Council for Health Care Workers’ XXXI International Conference, focused on NTDs and rare diseases.

River blindness, also known as onchocerciasis, has endangered Guatemalan’s eyesight since at least 1915. Last month, however, just over a century after the country’s first onchocerciasis diagnosis, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the disease officially eliminated from the Land of Eternal Spring.
On November 10, Sabin Vaccine Institute President Dr. Peter Hotez will give the keynote address on NTDs at the Pontifical Council for Health Care Workers’ XXXI International Conference, focused this year on NTDs and rare diseases. The Pontifical Council for Health Care Workers was established by Pope John Paul II to help coordinate the Vatican’s health care related activities. Its work is rooted in the Church’s mission to care for the sick by dedicating its efforts to help health care workers and those serving the sick and suffering. The Pontifical Council for Health Care Workers’ XXXI International Conference will be one of its capstone events, as the Council will be assumed by the Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development on January 1, 2017.

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