Campaign for the Umbilical Cord Blood Donation
The Archdiocese of Seoul started a full-scale campaign for the umbilical cord blood donation. As the first step, with the cooperation of the One-Body One-Spirit Movement and Catholic Hematogenetic Cell Bank, the Archdiocesan Committee for Life made a guidebook and a poster for the donation promotion and sent them to each parish with the official letter of the Most Rev. Andrew Yeom Soo-joong, President of the Archdiocesan Committee for Life, on March 10, 2007.
The Rev. Hugh Park Jeong-woo, Director of the Secretariat of the Committee for Life, said, "We may as well save social costs as provide the patients of incurable diseases with more chances for a new life, if we all make the umbilical cord blood more openly accessible for everybody who needs it." And he urged the faithful to have more concern for the campaign and to participate in it.
At the moment, the Catholic Hematopoietic Stem Cell Bank, established in 1994, of the Catholic University of Korea College of Medicine makes a grant of the umbilical cord blood for anyone who needs it, which is the first case in Korea, via its so-called 'Umbilical Cord Blood Public Bank,' established in 1997.
If there are sufficient leukocyte and hematopoietic cells in the umbilical cord blood, it is used for the treatment of leukemia along with the bone marrow transplantation. If it has not enough cells, it is used for the adult stem cell research which has a promising future.
Caritas Corea Pledged its North Korean Counterpart Cooperation
Headed by the Most Rev. Lazzaro You Heung-sik, President of the Committee for 'Caritas Corea' of the CBCK, the representatives of the Caritas Corea visited Pyongyang, capital city of North Korea, to participate in 'The 2nd Senior-level Meeting for Adaptation of Basic Agreement on Caritas Internationalis(CI) Democratic People's Republic of Korea(DPRK) Programme 2007' as a facilitating partner from March 27 to 31, 2007. The Caritas Corea had an official invitation from Mr. Kim Choon Gun, Vice President of National Economic Cooperative Association (NECA) of North Korea. Some foreign delegates were also there: Mr. Jose Maria Gallares, Director of the CI International Cooperation Committee, Mr. Wolfgang Gerstner, Consultant for the Verbandsleitung, Verbandsentwicklung und Internationale Verantwortung of Deutscher Caritas Verband, Mr. Tadokoro Isao, General Secretary of Caritas Japan, the Rev. Gerard Hammond, Chairman of the CI DPRK Programme Steering Committee, the Rev. John Charles Sivalon, President of the Advisory Committee of Catholic Relief Service in the USA.
According to the letter from the Most Rev. You as of April 6, 2007, details of the Basic Agreement between Caritas Corea and the North Korean counterpart for the cooperation projects are as follows:
1. A cooperation project to provide supplies to operate a tissue culture room of virus-free seed potato at Pyongyang Agricultural Science Institute;
2. A health care cooperation project for the No. 1 People's Hospital in Pyongyang;
3. A health care cooperation for any region whose location is to be mutually agreed upon by both parties;
4. An agricultural cooperation project for any region whose location is to be mutually agreed upon by both parties.
Furthermore, Caritas Corea promised to provide equipments for the Changgwang Service Bureau Food Processing Plant and improve the restaurants in Changgwang Street. Here, especially the poorest North Koreans can be provided with quality food service at the lowest price.
From November 1, 2006, Caritas Corea assumed the function of a facilitating partner, as it was decided at Korea Country Group Meeting from October 18 to 19, 2006 in Rome. The Caritas Internationalis mandated Caritas Corea to represent 162 Catholic Churches of the world, which are members of the Caritas Internationalis, facilitating aid to North Korea.