Just in time for the Feb. 11 celebration of World Day of the Sick, Ghana's National Catholic Health Service has opened St. Pauline Clinic, dedicated to diabetic care and other noncommunicable diseases.

St. Pauline was a Catholic nun from Austria-Hungary who worked in Brazil. She was diabetic and prayed unceasingly for a cure and for others suffering from diabetes.

The clinic was built by Novo Nordisk, a Danish global health care company and world leader in diabetes care, in partnership with the National Catholic Health Service. It has two consulting rooms, two recovery rooms, a pharmacy, laboratory, administration, outpatient department, stores, warehouse and washrooms.

George Adjei, director of the National Catholic Health Service, said diabetes was one of the emerging noncommunicable diseases that had gained importance.

"St. Pauline Clinic will be used as a base, working with various municipal health directorates in Accra, to launch a school diabetic care program, which will involve continuous screening, education, counseling and treatment of diabetic cases," he said.

Father Lazarus Anondee, secretary-general of the Ghana Catholic Bishops' Conference, noted that the clinic was being commissioned at a time when the world is confronted with the coronavirus threat.

"In crisis situations as this, the first point of call is health facilities, no matter how big or small they are. At least there will be someone who is enlightened to give care and assist those afflicted or provide education on prevention. The St. Pauline Clinic will just do that," he said.

At a Mass launching World Day of the Sick, Bishop Emmanuel Kofi Fianu of Ho, who is in charge of health issues for the Ghana Catholic Bishops' Conference, called on caregivers, particularly chaplains of Catholic hospitals, to help the sick discover the closeness of God in difficult times.

"You are the face of Jesus to many of our sick brothers and sisters and their relatives," he said.

He asked caregivers to strive to promote the dignity and life of people and reject any compromise in the direction of euthanasia, assisted suicide or suppression of life, even in the case of terminal illness.

"When you are confronted with limitations and failures of medical science, remember that life is sacred and belongs to God, hence it is inviolable and no one can claim the right to dispose of it freely," he told the caregivers.