EMERGENCY is an independent and neutral humanitarian non-governmental organization (NGO) founded in Italy in 1994 to provide free-of-charge, high quality medical and surgical care in countries affected by war and poverty.
EMERGENCY runs over 60 hospitals, clinics and first aid posts around the world. All medical facilities are designed to last for generations. Patients are guaranteed entirely free, high-standard medical and surgical care without discrimination. EMERGENCY’s experienced international staff provides national staff with in-depth on-the-job training, with the goal of handing over medical facilities to local health authorities as soon as sustainability is achieved.
EMERGENCY USA was founded in 2008 and is a member of an international network that supports EMERGENCY’s healthcare projects through advocacy, fundraising, and recruitment of medical staff.
EMERGENCY USA is an independent, non-profit organization with 501(c)3 tax-exempt status from the IRS. Our Federal EIN is 26-3321828.
Meet Our Founder
Gino Strada was born in 1948, and graduated as a surgeon from the University of Milan. After working in hospitals in Italy, South Africa and the US, Dr. Strada left a lucrative career to serve as a war surgeon. He worked for the International Committee for the Red Cross (ICRC) from 1989 to 1994 in eight countries including Bosnia-Herzegovina, Pakistan and Somalia.
In 1994, he and his wife Teresa founded the NGO EMERGENCY. While Dr. Strada spent most of his time abroad performing surgery at EMERGENCY facilities, Teresa managed EMERGENCY’s administration and developed the organization’s support base in Italy, where it now has 4,000 volunteers. Following Teresa’s death in 2009, the Stradas’ daughter Cecilia assumed the post of President of EMERGENCY.
Having experienced first-hand the civilian casualties and human misery brought by wars and landmines, Dr. Strada has taken an unwavering moral position against the root causes of war. EMERGENCY helped ban the production and use of antipersonnel landmines by Italy.
“All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights”. The acknowledgment of this principle “is the foundation of freedom, justice and peace in the world.”
Universal Declaration of Human Rights
"Paris, 10 December 1948, Article 1 and Preamble"
Healthcare is a basic human right.
Therefore, EMERGENCY supports the implementation of medical projects according to the principles of equality, quality, and social responsibility.
Every human being has the right to be cured regardless his or her economic or social condition, gender, race, language, religion and opinions. Standards of healthcare, set by the progress of medical knowledge, should be delivered equally and without discrimination to all patients.
QUALITYQuality systems must be based on community’s needs and be up to date with the achievements of medical science. They should not be oriented, shaped or determined by lobbies and corporations involved in the health industry. Quality systems strengthen and generate human and material resources.
SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITYGovernments should have the health and wellbeing of their citizens as their priority and they should allocate adequate human and financial resources to these ends. The services provided by health systems and humanitarian projects in the health sector must be free of charge for all.
Every day EMERGENCY deals with the destruction and suffering caused by war. For this reason EMERGENCY has always been committed to promoting a culture of peace not only in the countries where its medical and surgical projects are based, but everywhere in the world.
EMERGENCY repudiates the use of violence, terrorism and war as instruments to resolve disputes between individuals, peoples and nations.
EMERGENCY seeks a world based on social justice, solidarity, mutual respect, dialog, and equal distribution of resources.
How We Work
Providing free, high-quality medical and surgical care
Care we provide:
- General surgery
- Surgeries for medical emergencies and trauma
- Orthopaedic surgery
- Surgery for victims of war and landmines
- Pediatric and adult cardiac surgery
- Reconstructive surgery
- Ophthalmic surgery
- Primary healthcare
- Internal medicine
- Obstetrics and gynaecology
- Physical therapy
- Production of prostheses and orthoses
- Vocational training and setting up of small business cooperatives for people with disabilities
Building healthcare infrastructure
Many of EMERGENCY’s programs are in conflict and post-conflict regions, where healthcare facilities have been destroyed through war and lack of investment. By building or renovating hospitals, EMERGENCY contributes to the healthcare infrastructure, to the livelihoods of local communities, and ultimately helps to strengthen healthcare systems and foster sustainability.
- hospitals dedicated to war survivors and surgical emergencies
- physical and social rehabilitation centers
- first aid posts (stabilization and referral centers)
- primary healthcare centers
- pediatric clinics and hospitals
- maternity hospitals
- outpatient clinics and mobile clinics for migrants and underserved communities
- regional specialty hospitals
Training medical professionals
In our hospitals we give great importance to the training of local staff as doctors, nurses and midwives. This is because for us providing treatment also means fostering expertise in the countries where we work. Indeed, our objective is to hand over our hospitals to national staff and authorities as soon as self-sustainability can be achieved. In addition to medical training, we also run vocational training programs for individuals who have been maimed or left without social and financial support due to war.
By working with national health ministries to provide training and supporting local communities, we help ensure that we are fostering individual agency and empowerment.
About Our Team
Board Vice President
Courtnay Robbins Bragagnolo
Interim Executive Director
Director of Development
Volunteer Grant Writer
Social Media Intern
Gianna Van Winkle
Nonprofit Professional & Founder of Heartbeats Unlimited,
New York City, New York
At 20 years old, I underwent heart surgery to repair my mitral valve. That experience changed my outlook on life, gave me a renewed sense of purpose, and fueled my passion for helping others. I was made aware of EMERGENCY's life-saving work through the Open Heart documentary on patients of the Salam Center. Just like I was, these patients were given a second chance at living a healthy life with a functioning heart, a chance to fulfill their purpose.
Management Consultant and EMERGENCY Supporter,
I was born in Sierra Leone, and visited EMERGENCY’s hospital when I returned to Freetown in April of 2015. When I learned that all the services provided to patients were free and even prescriptions were filled at no cost . . .I was blown away. Sierra Leone went through 10 years of brutal civil war, and then Ebola came and wiped out the gains-- with the economic slump and increasing poverty, EMERGENCY gives us hope on the medical front.