Pope Francis has made his first public appearance since undergoing surgery to remove a portion of his large intestine.
The 84-year-old pontiff addressed a crowd of well-wishers from the balcony of the Gemelli Polyclinic in Rome and used the occasion to declare his support for public health services across the world.
“In these days of being hospitalised,” he said. “I have experienced how important good health care is, accessible to all, as it is in Italy and in other countries. A free healthcare system that assures good service, accessible to everyone. This precious benefit must not be lost. It needs to be kept!"
He made his address at exactly the time he normally appears on Sundays - before crowds in St Peter’s Square in the Vatican.