Denis Mukwege

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Denis Mukwege
Denis Mukwege VOA.jpg
The Doctor in his office in Panzi.
Born Denis Mukengere Mukwege
(1958-08-08) August 8, 1958 (age 56)
Bukavu, South Kivu, Belgian Congo
Nationality Congolese
Occupation Gynecologist

Denis Mukwege (born 1 March 1955) is a Congolese gynecologist. He founded and works in Panzi Hospital in Bukavu, where he specializes in the treatment of women who have been gang-raped by rebel forces, Mukwege has become the world's leading expert on how to repair the internal physical damage caused by gang rape.[1] He has treated several thousands of women since the Second Congo War, some of them more than once, performing up to 10 surgeries a day during his 18-hour working days. He has described how his patients arrive at the hospital sometimes naked, usually bleeding and leaking urine and faeces from torn vaginas.[1] Dr. Mukwege has been described as a potential candidate for the Nobel Peace Prize.[2]

Early life[edit]

Mukwege was the third of nine children born to a Pentecostal minister and his wife. He studied medicine because he wanted to heal the sick that his father prayed for, working at first in a rural hospital, then traveling to France to study gynecology, after seeing the complications of childbirth experienced by women in the Congo who had no access to specialist healthcare.[1]

UN speech and attack[edit]

In September 2012, Mukwege made a strong speech condemning impunity for mass rape in the D.R. Congo, openly criticizing the shameful 16 years of inaction by the International Community and the Congolese government about the massacres in the Kivu region of the D.R.C.

On October 25, 2012, four armed men attacked his residence while he was not home, held his daughters hostages, and waited for his return to assassinate him. Upon his return, his guard intervened and was shot dead by the assassins. They missed Mukwege as he dropped to the ground during the shooting.[3] After the assassination attempt, Mukwege went into exile in Europe and the Panzi Hospital reported that his absence has had a “devastating effect” on its daily operations.[4]

He returned to Bukavu on January 14, 2013 where the population reserved him a warm welcome over the 20 miles from the Kavumu airport to the city of Bukavu, especially from his patients, who had raised funds to pay for his return ticket by selling pineapples and onions.


See also[edit]