ABOUT 50 Catholic Bishops in Africa and Asia have issued an urgent appeal for doctors to strengthen the staffs in their mission hospitals. The appeals, addressed to the University College for Aspiring Medical Missionaries at Padua, lay particular stress on the important part to be played by the Catholic doctor in the spiritual as well as the physical life of the under-developed countries.
Initially. 50 doctors are being sought. The college has sent 63 doctors abroad in recent years but is at the moment unable to meet the new requests. An article in the Osservaiore Romano dealing with the appeal, points out that Italy has one doctor for every 650 inhabitants, Pakistan one for every 13,000, Nigeria one for every 57,000, and Indonesia one for every 71.000.
Most of the requests have come from the African bishops. "If a doctor doesn't arrive soon", one bishop said, "I will have to close the hospital." Another bishop commented: "If you do not send a new doctor it will he a disaster. The work is painfully difficult — we have two hospitals with only one male nurse."
In an effort to encourage doctors to take part in this missionary activity. high salaries, free passages for their families, and free accommodation, are being offered, with four to six months leave in every two years.