The Norwegian Nobel Committee has selected two recipients for the 2018 Nobel Peace Prize, including Christian gynecologist Denis Mukwege, who has dedicated his life to caring for victims of rape in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). Mukwege, nicknamed “Dr. Miracle” for his specialized procedures, received the award alongside Nadia Murad, a young Yazidi activist who survived being kidnapped and raped by ISIS members in Iraq. This profile by The National gives insight into the the man.
Denis Mukwege, the Congolese doctor who shared the 2018 Nobel Peace Prize with Yazidi activist Nadia Murad, has been described as “the world’s leading expert on repairing injuries of rape” and is known to grateful patients as “Doctor Miracle” for his work in his homeland.
The 63-year-old gynaecologist has spent more than 20 years working with women who have been the victims of sexual abuse and rape during conflicts in the Democratic Republic of Congo, where he founded the Panzi hospital in Bukavu in 1999.
The 450-bed hospital has treated more than 85,000 women since it opened, performing reconstructive surgery and offering free consultations.
Born in Bukavu in 1955, Mr Mukwege initially studied medicine in Burundi and practised as a paediatrician in a rural hospital in Lemera near his hometown. However, he was moved to study gynaecology after seeing the plight of women who suffered from post-partum injuries.
After training at the university of Angers in France, he returned to Lemera where he first became aware of the use of sexual violence against women after the First Congo War between 1996-97.
Mr Mukwege described how in 1999 he encountered a woman who had been horrifically injured after soldiers inserted a gun into her genitals and fired.
“Her whole pelvis was destroyed. I thought it was the work of a madman, but the same year I treated 45 similar cases,” he said.