Thursday, 15 January 2009

African of the Year 2008

Nigeria's Daily Trust newspaper has awarded the African of the Year 2008 award to Congolese doctor Dr. Denis Mukwege. It looks richly deserved for his work at the Panzi Hospital in Bukavu.

From the award page:

"Dr. Denis Mukwege is a gynecologist who specializes in reconstructive surgeries on victims of rape in the war-torn Democratic Republic of Congo. His hospital, Panzi Specialist Hospital, has become a refuge for these unfortunate victims over the years.

According to the United Nations, 27,000 sexual assaults were reported in 2006 in South Kivu Province alone, and that may be just a fraction of the total number across the country. The justice system and the military still barely function, and United Nations officials say Congolese government troops are among the worst offenders when it comes to rape. Large swaths of the country, especially in the east, remain authority-free zones where civilians are at the mercy of heavily armed groups who have made warfare a livelihood and survive by raiding villages and abducting women for ransom.

It is in this environment that Dr. Denis has had to keep up his practice. His continued efforts at putting these women back together physically and mentally is what has, above everything else, made it impossible not to acknowledge him as the Daily Trust African of the Year for 2008."

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