Denis Mukwege is a Pentecostal pastor and a Congolese gynecologist. He is well known around the world as the Peace Nobel Prize winner for the year 2018. Hence, it is worthy of taking a look at his life and getting a better understanding of the work that he has done for the betterment of the planet that we live in.
Denis Mukwege was the founder of the Panzi Hospital, which is located in Bukavu. This hospital is currently offering treatments for all the women who are getting raped by the armed rebels. It has become a significant concern in the region, and lots of women lose their lives and get themselves subjected to long term injuries. Denis Mukwege noticed the problem, and he wanted to address it. That’s the main reason why he came up with the idea to build the hospital.
The early life of Denis Mukwege
Denis Mukwege was born on the 1st of March 1955 to the Pentecostal minister. There were nine members in the family, and Denis Mukwege was the third out of them.
During the schooling days, Denis Mukwege was interested in medicine: he was interested in healing sick people. Throughout childhood, Denis Mukwege has seen how his father has been praying for sick people. He wanted to provide further assistance to such people by healing them. That’s where he got the interest and determination in order to become a doctor.
Denis Mukwege was attending the University of Burundi, where he was able to graduate with a medical degree in 1983. After, Denis Mukwege went ahead and started working as a pediatrician. In fact, he has been working for a rural hospital close to Bukavu. This is where he was able to witness helpless women victims of the war. He was able to see hundreds of such women, who have been doing through immense pain. He also noticed that women don’t have a clear understanding of how to deliver and due to the same reason, a large number of mothers and children lost their lives during childbirth.
Along with this experience, Denis Mukwege wanted to become a gynecologist. This is where he attended the University of Angers, France, and he was able to obtain his Master’s Degree in gynecology. Then he completed the medical residency by the year 1989. To continue his studies, Denis Mukwege needed funds, and thanks to the Sweedish Pentecostal mission founds, he was able to proceed and finish the Master’s degree in France.
How did Denis Mukwege win the Nobel Peace Prize?
During the First War of Congo, he founded the Panzi Hospital in Bukavu, in 1999.
In an interview, he said, “I… started a hospital made from tents. I built a maternity ward with an operating theatre. In 1998, everything was destroyed again. So, I started all over again in 1999,”
Since Panzi Hospital opening:
- 85,000 patients with complex gynecological damage and trauma have been treated
- estimated 60% of injuries have been caused by sexual violence
- Most of the patients of that time were coming from conflict zones
- More than 3,500 women a year have cared.
- Sometimes Dr. Mukwege performs as many as 10 operations a day.
- 370 doctors, nurses, and support staff.
- It serves a population of 400,000 and also treats patients from neighboring countries.
Eastern DR Congo has been wracked by more than two decades of conflict, with numerous armed groups battling for control of the region’s rich deposits of gold and other precious minerals.
Women are very vulnerable; in a UN speech, Dr. Mukwege criticized President Joseph Kabila’s 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.”
For all the help he provides, he was targeted by gunmen who broke into his house and briefly held his daughters hostage. In this attack, his trusted friend and security guard were killed. He later moved with his family to Sweden, then to Belgium.
He came back to Bukavu in January 2013, where the population welcomed him over the 20 miles from Kavumu Airport to the city, especially by his patients, who had raised funds to pay for his return ticket by selling pineapples and onions.
The work done by Denis Mukwege was recognized and appreciated by the whole world. For example, he was provided with the Right Livelihood Award back in 2013.
Back in 2018, Denis Mukwege was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize because of all the excellent work that he did, helping all the victims of sexual violence during conflicts, trying to stop all these violence.
Taking a look at the previous years, Denis Mukwege has been able to provide treatments for thousands of women who got raped due to the Second Congo War. He was busy in the hospital that he built on his own while providing support and assistance for the women in need. In some of the instances, Denis Mukwege was spending around 17-hours a day with the operations for women who were raped by the armed rebels. This helped him to become the best expert in the world regarding rape injuries.
He continues to contribute a lot towards the well being of voiceless women who are impacted by the civil wars that are taking place in the region. He is also raising his voice against the civil wars. Hence, he is one of the most valuable resources that the country has got.