Published on Voices

Fighting gender-based violence in conflict-affected regions – a conversation with Nobel Peace Prize winner Dr. Denis Mukwege

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Dr. Denis Mukwege is a world-renowned gynecological surgeon from the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). In 1999, Dr. Mukwege founded Panzi Hospital in Bukavu in response to the devastating conflict that affected his community.
As a direct outcome of the conflict, maternal mortality was on the rise. Combatants used systematic rape of women and girls as a means of terrorizing and displacing the civilian population. As violence against women and girls escalated dramatically in the context of DRC’s conflict, Dr. Mukwege and the staff of Panzi Hospital dedicated significant resources to treating women with injuries from sexual violence.

Since 1999, Dr. Mukwege and his staff have helped to care for more than 50,000 women and children. What sets his hospital and work apart has not only been his sheer determination to heal and advocate on behalf of survivors of gender-based violence, but also his holistic method. The hospital treats survivors’ physical wounds, and also provides basic education, skills training, family planning, preventative health care, as well as legal and psycho-social services to its patients.  These healing services are all co-located within the hospital for the women’s needs to be assessed and treated in a holistic manner. 

In 2018, Dr. 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.”
In this video blog, World Bank Group Senior Director for Gender, Caren Grown (@CarenGrown), and Senior Director for Social, Urban, Rural and Resilience, Ede Ijjasz-Vasquez (@Ede_WBG), talk with Dr. Mukwege (@DenisMukwege) about efforts to reduce violence against women and girls, support for survivors of sexual violence, and his advocacy against gender-based violence, especially in conflict-affected areas.


Denis Mukwege

Nobel Peace Prize Winner and Founder of Panzi Hospital, Democratic Republic of the Congo

Caren Grown

Former Global Director, Gender

Ede Ijjasz-Vasquez

Former Regional Director, Africa, Sustainable Development Practice Group

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