All he wanted to do was deliver babieS
The Democratic Republic of Congo has one of the highest maternal mortality rates in the world. As a boy growing up in the rural hills of Congo, Dr. Denis Mukwege would travel with his father, a pastor, throughout the community to comfort the sick and dying. Many were laboring mothers who had nowhere to safely deliver their babies, which had a lasting impact on his life. He resolved to do more, and founded Panzi Hospital in 1999 to safeguard women’s lives and ensure that their children have the chance to thrive.
The War changed everything
The first patient who arrived at Panzi Hospital was not a delivering mother. She was a rape victim who had been shot in her genitals. Unfortunately, the brutality did not stop — it worsened. As the number of rape survivors arriving at our doors began to increase exponentially, we became reluctant experts in conflict-related gynecological trauma.
Over the past 20 years, Panzi has earned a global reputation as the preeminent treatment center for survivors of sexual violence in conflict. More than 85,000 women suffering from rape- or birth-related complications have been treated by our expert personnel, with thousands also taking advantage of our innovative holistic healing model that enables them to rebuild their lives.
In addition to treating victims of conflict, Panzi’s wide-ranging services ensure that every patient who seeks care receives the treatment they need. We deliver more than 3,500 babies per year with a 99.1% live-birth rate – a staggering achievement in a country with one of the worst mortality rates on record according to the World Bank. We also serve as a general hospital for nearly half a million people, treating everything from broken bones to cancer in a region in dire need of high-quality health care.