Panzi Hospital

Panzi Hospital was founded in 1999 in Bukavu, the capital of the Sud-Kivu province in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. It specializes in treating survivors of violence, the large majority of whom have been sexually abused. After years of military rape in South Kivu, there is increased civilian adoption of sexual violence.

The Panzi Hospital is managed by Communauté des Eglises de Pentecôte en Afrique Centrale (CEPAC, the Pentecostal Churches in Central Africa), itself founded by the Swedish Pentecostal Mission in 1921. Director Dr. Denis Mukwege has been operating on survivors of sexual violence for over a decade, and is one of only two doctors qualified to perform the reconstructive surgery. He published an analysis of the sexual violence crisis in eastern DRC in PLoS Medicine in Dec. 2009, based on his extensive, first-hand experience. Dr. Mukwege is the recipient of the UN 2008 Human Rights Award, and has been nominated twice for the Nobel Peace Prize.

Despite its support network and the overwhelming need for the services it provides, the Panzi Hospital continually faces a shortage of money, supplies, and resources to expand its base of qualified personnel. The hospital was initially built for 120 beds but the total number of beds is now 350, out of which 200 are devoted to sexual violence survivors. On average, Panzi admits 410 patients per month and is currently running at maximum capacity.

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