Dr. Carlo Urbani

“Carlo was the one who very quickly saw that this was something very strange. When people became very concerned in the hospital, he was there every day.”

Dr Carlo Urbani is credited by the World Health Organization as having alerted the world of the SARs virus and bringing the outbreak under control in Hanoi, Vietnam. Without his vigilance and persistence, the extent of the outbreak would have been much wider.  Shortly after the outbreak in Hanoi, Carlo died of SARs, the virus that he worked so hard to protect others from.

Carlo, who was the president of the Italian branch of Medecins Sans Frontieres (Doctors Without Borders),  was one of those to accept the Nobel Peace Prize in 1999 on behalf of the group. “His life reminds us again of our true work in public health” says the Director-General of WHO.  His life had an obvious effect on his immediate colleagues.  When the severity of the virus was discovered in Hanoi, the medical staff voluntarily LOCKED themselves in the hospital for three long weeks to contain the out-break.  The cost was 4 deaths among the medical staff.

“We were scared but… we had to work and care for our colleagues… what we lived through was like a war”