A new leap forward in Camillian testimony
2020 has been a devastating year for global health due to an unknown virus (Covid 19) which has quickly become the greatest threat to human life. It paralyzes the functioning of all vital systems, prompting world leaders to act in concert. It threatens to roll back the hard-won gains in global health made over the past two decades in the fight against infectious diseases.
(see WHO, 2021). Furthermore, it threatens the freedom of mobility of individuals when national governments take a strong stance on border controls and even impose granular lockdowns, which literally prevent people from leaving their homes. With more people traveling to other countries and living in crowded cities, it is easier for the virus to spread. Infectious diseases that start in one part of the world can quickly spread to another.
The effects of a globalized economy, rapid labor migration, forced displacement and changes in agricultural practices have led to health problems that transcend international borders. All of these changes to varying degrees interact with the natural environment, seriously affecting the harmony of our ecosystem. Storms, floods, droughts and air pollution facilitate the spread of disease in large groups of human and animal populations. “Climate change is considered by many global health experts to be the greatest threat to human health.” (Dr. Calum Macpherson, 2021). Thus, neglecting the issue of climate health in the fight against this pandemic could wipe out initial gains such as Covid 19 vaccines.
Medical solutions must be accompanied by political solutions such as the prevention of environmental challenges.
Given the context in which we publish this special issue of Crossover, major challenges undoubtedly await the Camillian Disaster Service International Foundation (CADIS). The first six years of CADIS have proven its preparedness and vitality in rebuilding a fully resilient community in places most vulnerable to natural and man-made disasters. Her experience in disaster response management demonstrates her ability and unique contribution to the global humanitarian mission and disaster ministry.
From its “locus theologicus” – the Camillian charism – this ministry has definitively enriched the fourth vow of service to the sick even at the risk of their lives. It is not so much the risking of one’s life on a humanitarian mission that grants the wish, but the conscious, competent and compassionate (3C) response to the pleas of the most vulnerable affected by disaster. This dynamic process (3C) of responding to the “cry of the poor” (disaster survivors) is an essential method of making our response (ministry) more meaningful and true to our human and divine calling. It starts with listening and learning from the surrounding event. It requires a physical presence and an encounter with the most vulnerable. An intelligent understanding of the situation will lead us down the paths of rebuilding community resilience and, at the same time, deepen our commitment to serve them even at the risk of our lives. At the start of their pontificates, St. John Paul II called everyone “to open the doors to Christ,” and Pope Francis unveiled his missionary platform, “a Church moving forward.” There is so much to see, hear and learn outside of our comfort zones. The 2020 Global Risk Report reaffirms: “The more fragile the infrastructure network, the greater the extreme poverty and inequalities and the worse the access to the public health system, the more a society is susceptible to events. natural. Extreme natural events cannot be avoided directly, but countries can reduce disaster risk by addressing poverty and hunger, strengthening education and health, and taking preparedness measures.
The vulnerability of society depends essentially on the state of health and health care of the population and its functioning in crisis and disaster situations. […] the causal link works both ways.
Not only does health and health care determine disaster risk, but disasters have a negative impact on the health status of a society if they overburden or undermine the structures in place for the delivery of care in its health system. health. (cf.
CADIS is conceived as a concrete initiative in the search for an innovative and prophetic way of being Camillian. It is a new way of being Camillian but deeply rooted in one’s past – the legacy and patrimony of the Camillian Martyrs of Charity. It becomes bold in its global intervention to build a resilient community where people are affected or exposed to natural and man-made disasters. It is growing a lot in its mission to promote community programs of integral health for the well-being of affected communities through conscious, competent and compassionate interventions. It is a leap from top-down to bottom-up approach to ministry to suffering humanity. Above all, it attempts to harness our informed charity with justice as CADIS’ main theory of change in all of its humanitarian response.
In this special CADIS report, you will find some of the most significant experiences and learnings from the “field hospitals” (Pope Francis) where our colleagues and friends have worked, as well as the reflections and speeches born out of the real experiences. These lived experiences, these testimonies of faith and this dynamic inspiration will serve as resources for us to face the new challenges to come and to continue the journey begun four centuries ago. The way forward is marked by signs and calls for deeper engagement with the most vulnerable. Without their input, our initiatives will end up being motivated only by simple respect for what we thought we were supposed to do. Without their active participation, our initiatives will not have a lasting impact. As the famous African proverb says: “If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together. Transformation occurs when the “transformer” (agent) and the “transformed” (subject) are mutually transformed.