By Rebecca Turkington
Dr. Denis Mukwege is the founder and medical director of Panzi Hospital in the Democratic Republic of Congo and a life-long advocate for women’s empowerment in the DRC. In 1998 he established the Panzi Hospital in an effort to lower the country’s maternal mortality rate by providing improved medical care for women.
“I think our work is to transform these women from victims into survivors. Not just survivors, but to empower them, and to have this power turn into genuine leadership of their communities.”
Since then, Dr. Mukwege has expanded his focus, and now provides urgently needed care to victims of sexual violence. Beyond surgical and medical treatment, the Panzi Hospital focuses on psychological services, reintegration and economic empowerment, and access to justice for survivors. As Dr. Mukwege says, “Most of these women, after treatment, they become leaders in their own community. They are the ones who will save Congo.”