World

Dr. Gino Strada, Who Brought Health Care to the Desperate, Dies at 73

Last year, Emergency joined the “People’s Vaccine” campaign, an assembly of health and humanitarian associations and individuals lobbying to ensure that free Covid-19 vaccines are made available to all.

On the day he died, as Taliban forces advanced in Afghanistan, the Turin daily La Stampa published a front-page opinion article by Dr. Strada, who had lived in the country off and on for seven years.

“We said 20 years ago that this war would be a disaster for everyone,” he wrote. “Today, the outcome of that aggression is under our eyes: a failure from every point of view. More than 241,000 victims and five million displaced.” Afghanistan, he wrote, is “a destroyed country, and those who can will try to escape and endure hell to arrive in Europe,” while only arms manufacturers have benefited from the war.

David Lloyd Webber, an Emergency spokesman in Britain, said on Wednesday that Emergency’s Surgical Center for War Victims in Kabul had been “extraordinarily busy over the last few days.”

Emergency was conceived by Dr. Strada, his wife, and friends and colleagues around the couple’s kitchen table in Milan in late 1993. The organization’s first project was begun the next year, in Rwanda. Other projects followed, including a pediatric ward in the Central African Republic, a war surgery program in the besieged city of Misrata, Libya, and two Ebola treatment centers in Sierra Leone. Emergency also set up maternity centers, clinics and first-aid posts.

In addition, it has projects in Italy to help people on the margins, often immigrants, and it established a campaign called “Nobody Left Behind” to aid Italians who lost jobs or businesses because of the coronavirus pandemic.

The organization raised 48.6 million euros ($56.7 million) in 2020, mostly from individual donors, though in recent years funding from institutions and foundations has increased. From the start, Emergency has also depended on a network of volunteers, who raise money selling T-shirts, tote bags and other items in Italy’s piazzas and at events.


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