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.