The XV International Medical Conference n the theme "Problems of medical ethics in the contemporary world" was organized by the Diocese of Vitebsk in the Republic of Belarus. Before the conference officially began, on 6 June, a small entourage of participants joined His Excellency Bp. Aleh Butkevich, Bishop of Vitebsk, at a local hospital that is still under construction. Bishop Butkevich blessed a new room that will become the future chapel of this hospital. Next, the group traveled to the Vitebsk Regional Maternity Hospital where the Director, Dr. Alena Leonovich, conducted a tour of the facility. It is the largest maternity ward in the region, with around 2,500 children born there each year.
The Chairman of the Vitebsk Oblast Council of Deputies, Vladimir Terentyev, welcomed the participants and members of the Health Department and Organization for Medical Care offered some introductory comments.
Presentations were made regarding such subjects as patient autonomy, medication and dependence, alcohol abuse and heart disease, and subjects related to addiction and human freedom. Rev. Christopher Mahar of the Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development spoke on the “New Charter for Health Care Workers and New Forms of Addictions.” Beginning with some of the main insights from last year’s International Conference at the Vatican, he also gave some statistical information on drugs and addictions before presenting the Charter for Healthcare Workers and the perspective of hope, rehabilitation and integral human development.
A presentation was also offered by Dr. Roberto Averna of the Ospedale Bambino Gesù regarding struggles of addiction today with regard to adolescents.