How Fighting Against Sexual Violence Earned Dr. Denis Mukwege A Nobel Prize.




Congolese gynaecologist Dr. Denis Mukwege was born March 1, 1955.
He is the founder of Panzi Hospital in Bukavu, a Health Centre dedicated to the treatment of women who have been through any sort of sexual abuse especially those raped by armed rebels.
He has handled cases of women numbering up to thousands who were victims of rape since Congo War II.
Dr. Mukwege performs about ten surgical operations per day in his 18-hour working days.

According to The Globe and Mail, Mukwege is:

"likely the world's leading expert on repairing injuries of rape".

In 2018, Mukwege and Nadia Murad were jointly awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for "their efforts to end the use of sexual violence as a weapon of war and armed conflict".

Nadia Murad born in 1993 in Iraq, she Was kidnapped at an early Age by Islamic sect ISIS.
Since her release, she founded an organisation specialized in helping women and children victimized by genocide, mass atrocities, and human trafficking to heal and rebuild their lives and communities".
She is the first Iraqi citizen to be awarded.



Dr. Mukwege studied medicine and graduated with a medical degree from the University of Burundi in 1983.
His first employment was as a pediatrician at the rural Lemera Hospital near Bukavu.
However, he became motivated to study gynaecology after seeing female patients who because of inadequate care often suffered severe pain, genital lesions, and obstetric fistula after giving birth. He enrolled to study gynaecology and obstetrics at the University of Angers, France, and completed his medical residency in 1989.

He would later earn a Ph.D in September 2015, from Université libre de Bruxelles for his thesis on traumatic fistulas in the Eastern Region of the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

Upon his return from France, Mukwege continued working in the Lemera Hospital until after the outbreak of the First Congo War.
Owing to violent incidents he returned to Bukavu, where he founded the Panzi Hospital in 1999.

Since its opening, Panzi Hospital has attended to over 85,000 patients with complex gynecological damage and trauma, an estimated 60 percent of injuries has been caused by sexual violence.
Most of the patients at that time were who travelled from conflict zones. Mukwege has described how his patients arrived at the hospital sometimes naked, usually in horrific condition.
When he observed that genital damaging was being used as a weapon of war in the conflict of the late 1990s between different armed groups, Mukwege devoted himself to reconstructive surgery to help female victims of sexual violence.
The German Institute for Medical Mission (DIFAEM) has been providing support for Mukwege's work with funds and medicines.

In September 2012, Mukwege delivered a speech at the United Nations where he condemned the mass rape occurring in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and criticized the Congolese government and other countries "for not doing enough to stop what he called 'an unjust war that has used violence against women and rape as a strategy of war'".

On 25 October 2012, four armed men attacked his residence while he was not home, held his daughters hostage, 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. 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.


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

Before winning the Nobel Prize of 2018, Dr. Denis Mukwege with has amassed other notable Awards such as:
~ The Legion of Honour, the highest award of the French Republic.
~ UN Human Rights prize (New York, December 2008)
~ Olof Palme Prize (Sweden, 2008)

~ African of the Year (Nigeria, January 2009), awarded by Daily Trust.

~ Chevalier de la Légion d'Honneur by the French government (Kinshasa, 2009).

~ Van Heuven Goedhart-Award (June 2010) from the Netherlands Refugee Foundation (Stichting Vluchteling)

~ The Wallenberg Medal (University of Michigan, October 2010)

~The King Baudouin International Development Prize (Brussels, 24 May 2011) by the King of Belgium Albert II.

~ Clinton Global Citizen Award for Leadership in Civil Society (New York, September 2011)[23] by President Bill Clinton.

~ The 2011 Deutscher Medienpreis (German Media Award) (Baden Baden, Germany, February 2012).

~ Officier de la Légion d'Honneur Française (Panzi, July 2013) brought to Bukavu.

~ Civil Courage Prize (October 2013)

~ Human Rights First Award (August 2013)

~Right Livelihood Award (September 2013)
"Prize for Conflict Prevention" by the Fondation Chirac (Paris, October 2013)

~ The Hillary Clinton Award (Washington, DC, February 2014) at Georgetown University for Advancing Women in Peace and Security along with the British Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs William Hague.

~The Inamori Ethics Prize from the Case Western Reserve University Inamori Center for Ethics and Excellence (October 2014)

~ Solidarity Prize received from Médecins du Monde and the Saint-Pierre University Hospital (Brussels, October 2014)

~ The Sakharov Prize for the Freedom of Thought, received from the European Parliament (Strasbourg, November 2014).

~ Gulbenkian Prize (Lisbon, July 2015)
Women for Women International "Champion for Peace Award" (New York, November 2015)

~ Prix Héros pour l'Afrique (Hero for Africa) (Brussels, January 2016).
University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing Renfield.

~ Foundation Award for Global Women's Health (Philadelphia, March 2016)
~Fortune Magazine 35th World Greatest Leader of 2016 (March 2016).

~ Four Freedoms Award Laureate for the Freedom From Want, by the Roosevelt Institute in New York and Franklin D. Roosevelt Stichting (Middelburg, Netherlands, April 2016)

Dr. Mukwege is the 23rd African to win the Nobel Prize with his Award making him the 11th peace Prize winner from the continent after Albert Luthuli picked up Africa's first Nobel Peace Prize in 1960.

By: Onwordi Ngozi Fortune

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