As a direct out­come of the war, mater­nal mor­tal­i­ty was on the rise. The safe­ty of all women and girls were being impact­ed by bru­tal forces that rav­aged their bod­ies in unimag­in­able ways. Dr. Mukwege’s first patient was a sur­vivor of rape, whose repro­duc­tive organs had been bru­tal­ly destroyed. As vio­lence against women and girls esca­lat­ed dra­mat­i­cal­ly in the con­text of Congo’s wars,  Dr. Muk­wege and the staff of Panzi Hos­pi­tal ded­i­cat­ed sig­nif­i­cant resources to treat­ing women with fis­tu­la and oth­er com­plex gyne­co­log­i­cal injuries – both trau­mat­ic and obstetric.

Dr. Denis Muk­wege, 2014 Sakharov Prize Lau­re­ate, found­ed Panzi Hos­pi­tal in 1999 as a response to the dev­as­tat­ing war that sur­round­ed his com­mu­ni­ty in the east­ern provinces of the Demo­c­ra­t­ic Repub­lic of Con­go. The hos­pi­tal now serves a pop­u­la­tion of 400,000 as the Gen­er­al Ref­er­ence Hos­pi­tal for the Iban­da Health Zone in DRC, with a full range of health services.