Gino Strada

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Gino Strada
Gino Strada 2010.jpg
Gino Strada in 2010
Born (1948-04-21) 21 April 1948 (age 73)
Known forFounder of Emergency
Medical career

Gino Strada (born Luigi Strada; 21 April 1948) is an Italian war surgeon and founder of Emergency, a 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, basing its headquarters in Milan, Italy. Since then Emergency has treated more than 10 million patients. Gino's first project under the flag of EMERGENCY was based in Rwanda during the Rwandan genocide in 1994, and he followed this up by launching projects in Iraq, Cambodia, Eritrea and Afghanistan.[2]

Gino Strada's main focus throughout his career has been to help victims of war, including direct casualties of conflict and also those who, as a result of war, have no access to healthcare leaving them vulnerable to preventable diseases.[3]

For instance, Strada opened a new maternity centre in Afghanistan in 2003, which became a reference point in the Panjshir Valley and the surrounding provinces.[4] The centre was recognised by the Afghan Ministry of Health as a centre of specialisation for gynaecology, obstetrics and paediatrics.[5]

In 2007, Strada opened the Centre for Cardiac Surgery, the first hospital in the region to offer free, high-quality cardiac surgery to patients who would have otherwise been unable to access treatment.[6] Strada worked in the centre until 2014, and today it has treated patients from 30 different countries, both within Africa and further afield.[7]

The idea for the Salam Centre for Cardiac Surgery came from Strada's belief that the basis for the freedom and quality of human beings with regard to dignity and rights, must also extend to the right to free treatment 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.[8]

This belief also meant 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.[9] In 2017, construction began on the second centre to form part of the network, the Centre of Excellence in Paediatric Surgery in Entebbe, Uganda.[10]

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.


  • 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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