Gino Strada

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Gino Strada
Gino Strada 2010.jpg
Gino Strada in 2010
Born (1948-04-21) 21 April 1948 (age 71)
Known forfounder of Emergency
Medical career

Gino Strada (born Luigi Strada on 21 April 1948 in Sesto San Giovanni, Province of Milan, Italy) is an Italian war surgeon and founder of Emergency, a UN-recognized international non-governmental organization.[1]


Gino Strada graduated in medicine and trauma surgery from the University of Milan in 1978. During most of the 1980s, he studied and worked in several major hospitals abroad as a heart-lung transplant surgeon. From 1989–1994, he worked as a surgeon with the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) in various conflict zones: Pakistan, Ethiopia, Peru, Afghanistan, Somalia and Bosnia.

Strada , along with his wife and a group of colleagues, founded EMERGENCY in 1994, with its headquarters in Milan, Italy. Since then Emergency has treated more than 10 million patients. EMERGENCY’s first project was based in Rwanda during the Rwandan genocide, and was followed by projects in Iraq, Cambodia, Eritrea and Afghanistan.[2]

Strada 's career has focused on helping victims of war, including not only those directly injured by conflict but also those who, as a result of war, have no access to healthcare and whose lives are therefore threatened by preventable diseases.[3]

For instance, Strada opened a new maternity centre in Afghanistan in 2003, which became the referral centre for the Panjshir Valley and the surrounding provinces. The centre was recognised by the Afghan Ministry of Health as a centre of specialisation for gynaecology, obstetrics and paediatrics.[4]

In 2007, Strada opened the Centre for Cardiac Surgery, the first hospital on the African continent to offer free, high-quality cardiac surgery to patients who would have otherwise been unable to access treatment. Strada worked in the centre until 2014, and today it has treated patients from 30 different countries, both within Africa and further afield.[5]

The Centre for Cardiac Surgery was born from the idea that all human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights, and therefore the right to treatment must be guaranteed to all, without discrimination: "If you think of medicine as a human right, then you cannot have some hospitals that offer sophisticated, very effective, hi-tech medicine," he says, "and then go to Africa and think, 'OK, here's a couple of vaccinations and a few shots'. Do we think that we human beings, we are all equal in rights and dignity, or not? We say, 'Yes, we are.'" – interview in The Observer, 2013.[6]

It was on this basis that in 2009, Strada contributed to the creation of the ANME (African Network of Medical Excellence), with the aim of promoting the construction of Medical Centres of Excellence across Africa, based on the model of the Salam Centre for Cardiac Surgery.[7] In 2017, construction began on the second centre to form part of the network, the Centre of Excellence in Paediatric Surgery in Entebbe, Uganda.[8]

EMERGENCY’s approach to healthcare is based on the principles of equality, quality and social responsibility, as outlined in the “Manifesto for a Human Rights Based Medicine”, drawn up by EMERGENCY and signed by the health ministers of 11 African countries.[9]

Emergency claims that it helps civilian victims of war without being hindered by bureaucracy. In 1996, it opened its first hospital in Iraqi Kurdistan. Today, Emergency operates eight hospitals in areas of conflict, including a surgical hospital in Freetown, Sierra Leone, and a hospital in Lashkar Gah, Afghanistan. Fifty-four "First Aid Posts-Health Care Centers", located in heavily mined areas or close to the front lines, are connected to the Emergency hospitals' network.

On 1 September 2009, his wife Teresa Sarti died in Milan. She was co-founder with her husband of Emergency and president of the organization.

Political opinions[edit]

In Italy, Gino Strada has taken increasingly critical positions against the Italian governments led by Romano Prodi first, and by Silvio Berlusconi in the most recent years, because of their perceived shortcomings. Most of the grievances are related to the Italian support of the UN-sanctioned, NATO-led intervention in Afghanistan against the former Taliban regime (see War in Afghanistan). These actions are perceived by Gino Strada and its organization as an act of war against the Afghan people in open violation of the letter and spirit of the Constitution of Italy.

I am not a pacifist. I'm against war.

— Gino Strada, interviewed at "Che tempo che fa" (a popular Italian TV show)[This quote needs a citation]


  • Gino Strada, Pappagalli verdi: cronache di un chirurgo di guerra, 2000, ISBN 88-07-17032-9
  • Gino Strada, Buskashi. Viaggio dentro la guerra (A Journey inside war), 2003, ISBN 88-07-17069-8.
  • Gino Strada, Howard Zinn Green Parrots. A war surgeon's diary, 2004, ISBN 88-8158-524-3.
  • Gino Strada, Howard Zinn Just war, 2005, ISBN 88-8158-572-3.

Awards and honors[edit]


  1. ^ a b "248908 Ginostrada (2006 VY45)". Minor Planet Center. Retrieved 3 September 2019.
  2. ^ (2019). "Who we are". Retrieved 6 May 2019.
  3. ^ (2019). "Who we are". Retrieved 6 May 2019.
  4. ^ (2019). "Anabah Maternity Centre". Retrieved 6 May 2019.
  5. ^ (2019). "Salam Centre For Cardiac Surgery". Retrieved 7 May 2019.
  6. ^ Strada, Gino (14 July 2013). "Meet Gino Strada, unsung hero to the poorest victims of war" (Interview). Interviewed by Carole Cadwalladr. London: The Observer. Retrieved 7 May 2019.
  7. ^ (2019). "Salam Centre For Cardiac Surgery". Retrieved 7 May 2019.
  8. ^ (2019). "Centre of Excellence in Paediatric Surgery". Retrieved 7 May 2019.
  9. ^ (2019). "Healthcare of Excellence in Africa". Retrieved 7 May 2019.
  10. ^
  11. ^ "MPC/MPO/MPS Archive". Minor Planet Center. Retrieved 3 September 2019.

External links[edit]