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Denis Mukwege
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Doctor
    (March 1, 1955- )
    Born in Bukavu, Democratic Republic of the Congo
    Gynecologist and surgeon
    Founded Panzi Hospital (1999)
    Specializes in repairing injuries inflicted on women during rape
    Hospital has treated over 50,000 survivors of sexual violence since the outbreak of the Second Congo War
    Co-recipient, with Nadia Murad, of the Nobel Peace Prize for ‘their efforts to end the use of sexual violence as a weapon of war and armed conflict‘ (2018)
    It is not obvious how his last name should be pronounced. (Answer: moo-kway-gay, emphasis on the second syllable.)
    His calls for an international tribunal to prosecute war crimes in the Congo have gone unheeded. (Through 2018.)
    After an assassination attempt, he fled the country for Europe.
    He went into medicine after seeing the post-childbirth complications endured by women in the Congo with no access to health care.
    He noted after treating a woman who had been raped, after which bullets had been fired into her genitals and thighs, ‘The real shock came three months later: Forty-five women cane to us with the same story.’
    In addition to corrective surgery, his hospital provides therapy to deal with the psychological trauma of rape; education and training to allow the women to become economically independent; and collection of legal evidence against the perpetrators.
    He survived an assassination attempt in which his bodyguard was killed (October 25, 2012).
    After three months, he returned to the Congo after his patients raised money for a plane ticket by selling fruits and vegetables. (‘After that gesture, I couldn’t really say no.’)
    He said about his patients’ support, ‘Their enthusiasm gives me the confidence to continue my work as usual.’

Credit: C. Fishel


 
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