The Democratic Republic of Congo is not new to violence. In fact, thousands of Congolese women get raped and sexually abused by the country’s rebels. It started during the civil war way back in the 90’s up to this day. Denis Mukwege, a Congolese gynecologist, and surgeon helped these Congolese victims by providing free medical and comprehensive care. Dr. Denis Mukwege founded the Panzi Hospital in the South Kivu province in 1990 to fulfill these goals.
Denis Mukwege, together with his colleagues, have treated about 30,000 rape victims. They have already developed a skillfulness in treating several sexual injuries. When the war started, 35 of his patients died in their beds, according to BBC. He, then, took off to Bukavu and started a hospital made of tents. He also built a maternity ward and an operating theater. These, however, were all destroyed in 1998. So, he started to rebuild his makeshift hospital once more in 1999.
— The Panzi Foundation (@PanziUSA) December 10, 2016
Denis Mukwege: Helping women who are victims of rape
In 1999, he experienced his first rape victim. They brought the woman in the hospital with severe wounds on her genitals. After she got raped, they fired bullets into her genitals and thighs. Little did Denis Mukwege know that he would know more victims of rape soon after. Three months after the incident, about 45 women came in to see him and revealed that they, too, suffered the same plight.
Not only does Dr. Mukwege treat their wounds, he also feeds them and takes care of them while they are under his care. This humanitarian act gave him a spot in TIME magazine’s 100 Most Influential People. He has also received three nominations for a Nobel Peace Prize, reports Africa News. He is also a recipient of the European Union’s Sakharov Prize in 2013. Lastly, Harvard University awarded him an Honorary Doctor of Laws in 2015.
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