14 September 2021
Gino Strada: a man, a professionist serving lives
A month ago, Gino Strada left us. He lived his life fulfilling one specific mission: to help others. Gino Strada was a doctor. But just calling him a doctor would be an understatement. He was a champion of human rights, a visionary – as his friends and collaborators used to call him – a war doctor who repudiated war. Because he saw the war every day, on the suffering faces of his many patients, on their mutilated, wounded bodies, torn apart by human violence. He chose to be a surgeon in low-resource countries, transforming health into a right for everyone. Because Gino rightly wondered why medicine in some places like Africa should be of the B series. And he was determined to show that even in Africa a series A medicine is possible, but even more necessary. For this reason, in 1994, he founded the Emergency humanitarian association with his wife Teresa “to offer free and high-quality medical-surgical treatment to the victims of wars, landmines and poverty”.
But as much as Gino Strada, his life, his work, his solidarity, and his Emergency were a rare nugget, his story is not that much rare. Yes, because the international cooperation world is full of stories of people like him. Stories of doctors, nurses, midwives and collaborators, who put their lives at disposal of the most needy. They are not just doctors with a simple stethoscope around the neck, but trench doctors ready to operate in the poorest and most difficult areas of the world, ready to ensure free medical and surgical care. Whether on a boat in the middle of the sea, or in a field hospital in Afghanistan, or in a small medical center in Burundi, they respond to that vocational and stubborn will of saving lives. They are professionals and, at the same time, defenders of human rights, particularly the right to health and the right to life. Because as Gino said, defending the rights of others also means defending one’s own.
We take this opportunity to thank Gino Strada and all his work done throughout the years, that will live with Emergency. But we would also like to take this opportunity to thank “our” doctors and collaborators for the valuable work that they do with Chiesi Foundation. Thank you for helping us carry out our mission: improving health and alleviating the suffering of our patients.