Gino Strada (b. Luigi Strada April 21, 1948 in Sesto San Giovanni, Province of Milan) is an Italian war surgeon and founder of the UN-recognized Italian NGO Emergency. Emergency has operated in thirteen war-torn countries, including Iraq, Afghanistan, Sudan, Sierra Leone, Cambodia, and the Central African Republic.
I am not a pacifist. I'm against war.— Gino Strada, interviewed at "Che tempo che fa" (a popular Italian TV show)
Dr. Strada graduated in medicine and trauma surgery from the University of Milan in 1978. During most of the 1980s, Dr. Strada was a practicing heart-lung transplant surgeon working in the United States at Stanford and Pittsburgh Universities, as well as Harefield Hospital, UK and Groote Schuur Hospital in Cape Town South Africa. In, 1988, Dr. Strada redirected his experience as a hospital surgeon to trauma surgery and the care of war victims. From 1989-1994, he worked with the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) in the conflict zones of Pakistan, Ethiopia, Peru, Afghanistan, Somalia and Bosnia.
That field experience motivated Dr. Strada and a group of colleagues to establish Emergency as a "small, agile, highly specialized" humanitarian medical organization in 1994, with its headquarters in Milan, Italy. Since the end of 2010 Emergency has provided medical services to more than 4,420,000 patients.
In addition to his career as a war surgeon, Dr. Strada is a widely published author. In May 1996, Dr. Strada was the author of the Scientific American cover story, "The Horror of Landmines". He is also the prize winning author of Green Parrots, A War Surgeon’s Diary and Buskashi, A Journey Inside War,. His work was the subject of an award winning documentary “Jung in the Land of the Mujaheedin” and a PBS Point of View, “Afghanistan 1380”.
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.
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 (2001-present)). 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.
- 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.
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