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Ogi urges Swiss men to do more for sick and elderly

The Swiss president, Adolf Ogi, has urged men to do more to care for the sick and the infirm. His appeal came in speech broadcast on radio and television today to mark the National Day of the Sick.

This content was published on March 4, 2000 - 15:37

The Swiss president, Adolf Ogi, has urged men to do more to care for the sick and the infirm. His appeal came in speech broadcast on radio and television today to mark the National Day of the Sick.

It reflects the theme of this year's campaign: "Is caring for the sick really a concern to women only?"

"Healthcare concerns both men and women," said Mr Ogi. "It is everybody's duty to show solidarity with the sick".

Ogi thanked all those who help the sick. "Medicine has made extraordinary progress, but suffering, infirmity and death are still very much with us," he said.

The idea to mark the first Sunday of March as a day of solidarity goes back more than 50 years.

It was a Swiss doctor, Marthe Nicati, who noticed how tuberculosis patients in her Leysin clinic often suffered relapses after the long winters. Dr Nicati soon realised that sadness and depression were the cause, a state she could directly relate to the lack of bedside visits by friends and relatives.

Fifty years on, the National Day of the Sick brings attention not only to the sick and elderly, but also to the efforts made by nurses and voluntary workers.

As well as the president's speech, another public figure is also chosen to raise awareness of the issue. This year's message comes from Gro Harlem Bruntland, the head of the Geneva-based World Health Organisation.

Bruntland calls for a just system of compensation for women to maintain a good health care system.

From staff and wire reports

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