Pope praises efforts of those behind global 'field hospitals'

Sunday 11 February is the 26th celebration of World Day of the Sick.


The scene at the OLA Health Centre in Kolowaré ahead of World Leprosy Day. Image courtesy of the Centre de Santé de Kolowaré Facebook page.

Pope Francis has lauded the work of Catholic religious congregations in his message for the 26th World Day of the Sick.

"The Church’s maternal vocation to the needy and to the sick has found concrete expression throughout the two thousand years of her history in an impressive series of initiatives on behalf of the sick.  This history of dedication must not be forgotten."

He continued:

"The memory of this long history of service to the sick is cause for rejoicing...we must look to the past above all to let it enrich us.  We should learn the lesson it teaches us about the self-sacrificing generosity of many founders of institutes in the service of the infirm, the creativity, prompted by charity, of many initiatives undertaken over the centuries, and the commitment to scientific research as a means of offering innovative and reliable treatments to the sick."


An early OLA Sister providing care in Ghana. Image courtesy of www.ghanola.com

The pontiff made reference to 'shielding Catholic hospitals from the business mentality that is seeking worldwide to turn health care into a profit-making enterprise' and urged them to keep the human person at the centre of the healing process.

Pope Francis also used the message to highlight the efforts of the Church 'to do what she can to improve health' in areas of the world where such services were inadequate or non-existent.


Maternal health checks during an OLA 'Mobile Clinic' visit to the remote village of Dabang in the Ashanti Region of Ghana. Image courtesy of Sr. Faustina Ankawa.

Providing care in rural areas

Providing quality healthcare continues to be a central part of the OLA mission.  A special focus is placed on providing dispensaries, clinics and hospitals in areas where services are not yet adequate, while mobile clinics enable the Sisters to reach other to remote districts where no services exist.

The OLA Sisters are also responding to those with HIV Aids, providing comfort and hope for many thousands. One example of this is evident in Tanzania where a recently launched 'Test and Treat' project aims to care for up to 20,000 men, women and children.

Last year, we reported how Bepoase Clinic in rural Ghana received a much needed ultra sound machine - thanks to those who support the OLA St. Anthony Mission Boxes in Ireland.


Sr. Faustina speaking to the community in Dabang, Ghana. Image courtesy of Sr. Faustina Ankawa.

'Community delighted'

Speaking from Bepoase last week, Sr Faustina Anakwa reported that in the last 12 months alone, upwards of five hundred people have benefitted from speedier diagnostics and prompt treatment for ailments.

"Greetings from the Sacred Heart Clinic Centre, Bepoase, Ghana! I am pleased to inform you that gradually we are making progress in our quest to bring health care to the rural folk. Since we got the ultra sound machine, about 500 women from near and far have been saved from travelling long distances for the scan."

"We have also started with mobile clinics to the remotest areas beyond Bepoase. Just last week we were in Dabang village - a very hard to reach area. Once the rain sets in, they are cut-off due to the bad nature of the roads. The chief, elders and the whole community were so delighted to receive us."

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The community of Dabang in rural Ghana gather for an OLA mobile clinic. Image courtesy of Sr. Faustina Ankawa.

Development continues

Back in Bepoase, development work at the health centre continues with construction of a Child Welfare Clinic underway. 

Sr. Faustina is also hopeful that enough funds can be raised during 2018 to help get their 'grounded' ambulance back on the road.

In neighbouring Togo, the OLA Health Centre in Kolowaré recently held a special celebration to mark World Leprosy Day. 

Sr. Antonietta Profumo, an native of Genoa in Italy, has been on mission in Togo for some years. She reported that with much support from national and international groups, the annual World Leprosy Day event was a great success.


Sr. Antonietta Profumo receives food supplies for the World Leprosy Day celebration from members of Togolese charity. Image courtesy of the Centre de Santé de Kolowaré Facebook page.

Last month, the clinic also held a number of eye clinic which saw large numbers cured of varying ophthalmological ailments. 

Sr. Antoniette concluded: 'God bless our sick and all the benefactors'.



  • Click here to read the Pope's full message for World Day of the Sick
  • Click here to visit the Centre de Santé de Kolowaré Facebook page
  • Click here for an early account of the OLA mission in Ghana
  • Click here for an early account of the OLA mission in Nigeria
  • Click here for more on the OLA clinic in Bepoase
  • Click here for more of the Test and Treat initiative in Tanzania