Denis Mukwege is a world-renowned gynaecological surgeon who is the founder and medical director of Panzi General Hospital in Bukavu, the Democratic Republic of the Congo (Congo). He studied medicine in Burundi and started practising at the Christian Hospital of Lemera in South Kivu in Eastern Congo. Shocked by the appalling difficulties of Congolese women in childbirth, he decided to specialize in obstetrics and gynaecology. After completing his studies in France, he returned to South Kivu in 1989.
Mukwege founded Panzi General Hospital in Bukavu (1999), as a clinic for gynaecological and obstetric care, and expected to be working on issues of maternal health. However, Mukwege and his staff have helped to care for more than 50.000 survivors of sexual violence. The hospital not only treats survivors with physical wounds but also provides legal, psychological and social services to its patients. Even patients who cannot afford post-rape medical care are treated without charge at the hospital.
Denis Mukwege has been fearless in his efforts to increase protection for women and to advocate that those responsible for sexual violence are brought to justice, including the Congolese government and militia groups laying siege Eastern Congo.
Mukwege is a tireless advocate for the rights of women in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. He travels regularly raising awareness to the situation in Eastern Congo and has addressed the United Nations General Assembly on the matter. He is also on the advisory committee for the International Campaign to Stop Rape and Gender Violence in Conflict. He has been the recipient of numerous awards worldwide, including the 2018 Nobel Peace Prize, for his advocacy against sexual violence as a weapon of war and his outstanding services to survivors of rape.