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KUCHING – The “pioneering spirit” of the Church and early missionaries contributed to Sarawak’s social and human development, says Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Amar Douglas Uggah.
He said the missionaries had ventured into the jungles of Borneo to help the rural population by setting up schools for education and small clinics for health-care.
“I am one of the beneficiaries of such a school. If it had not been set up, I might not be standing here today,” the guest-of-honour said when opening the International Catholic Committee of Nurses and Medico-Social Assistants’ (CICIAMS) 20th World Congress here on 5 Sept 2018.
Uggah added that the clinics set up by the missionaries, which were staffed by Sisters and laypersons trained as nurses and midwives, became the backbone and foundation of government medical clinics as the state developed.
The congress, which takes place once in four years, was held at the Riverside Majestic Hotel from 4-7 Sept 2018.
Also present at the global event, which was hosted by Catholic Nurses Guild Malaysia, were Cardinal Peter Turkson, Prefect for the Dicastery for promoting Integral Human Development; Archbishop Joseph Salvador Marino, Papal Nuncio; Bishop Cornelius Sim, Episcopal President of the Commission of Pastoral Healthcare of the Bishop’s Conference of Malaysia, Singapore and Brunei; and Archbishop Simon Poh of the Archdiocese of Kuching.
The four-day congress, held for the first time here, attracted about 300 delegates from Malaysia and 18 from other countries.
On the congress, Uggah said its focus on issues affecting children, youth and the elderly would provide tools for education, sustaining life and promoting human development through the nursing and healthcare profession.
Cardinal Turkson reminded Catholic nurses that they are “ministers of life, and that sustainable care was done by Jesus Christ.” Referring to the theme of the congress, the Cardinal urged Catholic nurses to “educate, provide sustainable care and respect life”.
CICIAMS, through the congress, aims to provide a forum for its members to share experience on issues of education for sustainable health, engaging development and respecting life across the human life cycle.
In line with this year’s theme: Education for Sustainable Health: Engaging Development, Respecting Life, the congress hoped to achieve the objectives of 1) Improving and developing skills and expertise in the nursing profession in the context of the Catholic faith; 2) Sharing of global, regional and countries’ evidence for the development of tools to educate, sustain life and promote health for all and to enable each person to live with dignity; and 3) Equipping delegates with strategies to assist individuals and communities to live life with meaning and purpose through the life cycle of the human person.
Delegates returning home were strongly recommended to promote the Social teachings of the Church, to reach out to the needy, to see Christ in every person and ‘may they see Christ in us’. The church does not wait for the wounded to knock on her doors; she looks for them in the streets, she gathers them in, she embraces them, and she makes them feel loved in the name of God in Mercy.
Catholic Nurses were urged to upgrade their nursing development via continuous education and engagement with research in evidence based learning.
The congress concluded with the statement that the Church considers service to people who are sick and suffering an integral part of the Church mission.
At the same time, the congress has affirmed that CICIAMS will promote the scientific and pastoral response of the Holy See to questions relating to Human Dignity, Migration, Health Care, Charitable works and care of creation. – Francisca Malantin, thestar, and others