Panzi Hospital is located in Bukavu, the largest city in South Kivu province in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo. It functions as a general hospital for the local population, but is mostly known for its support for survivors of sexual violence and women suffering from complex gynaecological conditions such as obstetric fistula.
Panzi Hospital was officially opened in 1999. It was founded by Dr Denis Mukwege with assistance from CEPAC, the national Pentecostal Church Organisation. Swedish and British development funds, PMU and Läkarmissionen supported the infrastructure. Its mission is to assure holistic quality care to the popu¬lation through improved health care service delivery, community outreach activities, and advocacy. Over the longer term the hospital has a vision to grow into a competitive teaching hospital that is a centre of excellence, promoting health care for everyone.
The hospital is located in Panzi commune about 8km from the centre of Bukavu in South Kivu Province. It is the only hospital in the Ibanda Health Zone, but accepts patients from throughout the region. Renowned for its treatment of survivors of sexual violence and women suffering from severe gynaecological conditions the hospital has received a great deal international attention and publicity. Dr Wukwege has been the recipient of numerous awards in recognition of his work at Panzi Hospital and has been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize.
Since the official opening the hospital has expanded its services. It now comprises of four departments obstetrics and gynaecology, paediatrics, surgery and internal medicine. In 2012 a cervical cancer screening project was implemented, which is the first in eastern DRC.
DR. DENIS MUKWEGE
Denis Mukwege Mukengere is the founder and medical director of Panzi Hospital in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). As a young child, Dr. Mukwege accompanied his father, a Pentecostal pastor, while visiting sick members of the community. This later inspired him to become a doctor. The Swedish Pentecostal mission helped support him in his medical studies. He decided to specialize in gynecology and obstetrics after observing that female patients at Lemera Hospital suffered from insufficient medical care, which caused complications during their deliveries.
Amid the war in eastern DRC, in 1998, he initiated the construction of Panzi Hospital in Bukavu. The hospital has become known worldwide for the treatment of survivors of sexual violence and women with severe gynecological problems. Dr. Denis Mukwege has been the recipient of numerous awards and accolades and in 2009 was named African of the Year.
Dr Mukwege is a tireless advocate for the rights of women in DRC. He has addressed the United Nations General Assembly on the matter and regularly travels abroad raising awareness of the situation in Eastern DRC. In between responsibilities managing and administering Panzi Hospital and overseeing projects at the Panzi Foundation, Dr Mukwege continues to see patients and perform surgery two days a week.
The Panzi Hospital is owned and managed by Communauté des Eglises de Pentecôte en Afrique Centrale (CEPAC). One of the largest Pentecostal Church organizations in DRC, CEPAC was founded by the Swedish Pentecostal Mission in 1921. The church has more than 800,000 members in 724 congregations throughout DRC, but is mainly concentrated in the eastern parts of the country. The church is a major actor within the civil society in DRC and is operating more than 1,000 schools, about 160 health centres and three hospitals, including Panzi Hospital.
CEPAC is one of the most experienced local actors in South Kivu, and has implemented a wide range of humanitarian and development projects throughout the province. It has worked in partnership with faith based organizations such as PMU (the Swedish Pentecostal Mission’s Relief and Development Agency), international NGOs and in direct partnership with UN agencies.
SUPPORT PANZI HOSPITAL
Panzi Hospital treats thousands of patients every year. We work hard to provide a good level of health care at the hospital in an area of the world where our work is often faced by a number of challenges, like insufficient water supply and electricity, and an unstable security situation. Due to poverty more that 50 % of Panzi’s patients cannot pay their medical bills.
* Our goal is to improve the overall standard at the hospital in order to secure good health treatment for our patients. A number of high-quality projects are currently managed by Panzi Hospital to reach our specific target groups. However, these projects are dependent upon further institutional support. General contributions to the ongoing work at Panzi Hospital to maintain and improve its current capacity are therefore very helpful.
* However, health care for the most vulnerable (survivors of sexual violence, malnourished, and HIV/aids-patients) is free.
As a general referral hospital we have different specializations (obstetrics, pediatrics, internal medicine, general and specialized surgery) and we treat for example patients with HIV/aids, malnutrition and severe gynecological problems. We also support patients socio-economically within the SSV (Survivors of Sexual Violence) –project in the hospital and though the transit and safety house Maison Dorcas. By supporting a specific part of the hospital you can help us strengthen our work in an area that is important to you.
Have any questions? Please contact: Dr. Christine Amisi, Executive, Panzi Foundation DRC, via email: email@example.com or via telephone: +243975957243.
A number of projects are currently underway at Panzi Hospital. These are supported and implemented by a number of organisations and funding agencies. The main project at the hospital is the Survivors of Sexual Violence program, which provides medical and psychosocial assistance to people who survive sexual violence and women in need of specialised gynaecological care. This project is funded by the Swedish Pentecostal organisation, PMU along with the European Commission.
Other projects are conducted with various partners through three main organisations. Panzi Hospital, Panzi Foundation DRC and Panzi Foundation USA. They include HIV/AIDS, fistula, nutrition and USHINDI projects. The Maison Dorcas transition house and City of Joy are also associated with Panzi Hospital.
THE FISTULA PROJECT
The two main objectives of the fistula project are to repair fistula and train medical staff. Doctors are trained in fistula repair and nurses in pre-operation, operation and post-operation. In addition midwives are trained in working and following parthogram to prevent fistulas at labour.
During the first year 4 physicians were trained in repairing simple fistulas, and 8 nurses and 10 midwives demonstrated increased competence. During 2010 7 doctors were trained in performing more complex cases of fistula operations and 14 nurses took part in the project’s training program. The program continues to be supported by a number of
To ensure a good continuation there are also follow up visits to the physicians, nurses and midwives when they are back in their own respective working areas.
An important feature of the fistula projects at Panzi is outreach missions. Staff meet women in their villages, to treat them, raise awareness about fistula and to inform them of where and how to get treatment. The outreach team collaborate with local partners including NGO’s, churches and health institutions. The team performs simple fistula surgery on the field while more severe, complex fistula cases are referred to the Panzi Hospital. The costs of transport, treatment and care of referred cases are covered by the project.
Reparations have been performed at Lemera, Luvungi, Nundu (in the south part of the province), Kindu (in the Maniema province) and Kalemie, Kongolo in North Katanga province.
Financial Support: Fistula Foundation, Engenderhealth, PMU
Project Implementation: Panzi Hospital, PMU
GENDER BASED VIOLENCE
Congo’s eastern provinces have been plagued by conflict for more than two decades. Rape has been used by all sides of the conflict as a weapon of war. The presence of armed groups and high numbers of internal displacement has increased the vulnerability of the population towards different forms of abuse such as sexual violence. More than 5,000 women were raped in South Kivu alone during 2009, according to the UN. A majority of these were raped by soldiers or armed rebels.
Following the official end of the war in DRC, studies have found an increase in rapes committed by civilians. A study published by Oxfam and Harvard Humanitarian Initiative (HHI) in April 2010, was based on interviews with 4,311 female survivors of rape treated within previous phases of the Survivors of Sexual Violence (SSV) project at Panzi Hospital. The study found an increase in number of civilian rapes among the patients treated in the SSV project.
The number of reported civilian rapes among patients admitted to the SSV-project in 2008 was 11 per cent and in 2009 it increased to 15 per cent. From July 2009 to June 2010 the figure had further increased to 18 per cent.
The challenge for the survivors of sexual violence and women with gynaecological conditions to access primary as well as secondary health care remains significant. This is due to factors such as displacement, political insecurity and lack of capacity within the local health structures.
While working towards its mission to provide holistic care for its patients, Panzi Hospital has identified the following areas through which it provides assistance to patients.
Many of the patients received at Panzi Hospital are severely traumatized due to the violence committed against them. In such cases, the patients are assessed to determine their psychological needs and status in order to provide holistic care beyond physical treatment.
Panzi Hospital has established a judicial and legal program (through Panzi Foundation) that works to acquire justice for survivors of sexual and gender-based violence. The objective is to provide legal assistance to survivors of sexual violence and violations of human rights. Part of the program is awareness-raising of the rights of women, children and families.
The importance of providing women with skills-training has proven important for holistic care, since this can facilitate reintegration into their communities. Through Maison Dorcas (run by Panzi Foundation), a transit and safety house for survivors of sexual violence or those under long- or medium-term care for fistula and incontinence treatment. The women are provided with a safe environment in order to heal and learn new skills for their eventual community and/or family reintegration.
HIV / AIDS PROJECT
There are few organisations in South Kivu responding to the actual need of treatment for people living with HIV/AIDS. In response to this the Stephen Lewis Foundation established a HIV/AIDS initiative at Panzi Hospital in 2007. Patients come from the Survivors of Sexual Violence (SSV) project, Panzi Hospital’s other departments, outreach activities in churches and schools, and other hospitals and NGOs.
The project offers services such as paediatrics, maternity services, nutrition of inpatients, anti-retroviral treatment, a Volunteer Test Centre (VCT), Laboratory and a secure blood transfusion centre. The project also includes social activities such as micro-credits and school equipment and fees for students. Panzi Hospital staff are also able to perform counselling and HIV testing in villages outside Bukavu.
Funding: Stephen Lewis Foundation
Implementation: Panzi Hospital
PANZI FOUNDATION DRC
The Panzi Foundation was jointly created in 2008 by Dr. Mukwege and Panzi Hospital colleagues and supporters. The foundation was established with the specific aim to support the ongoing work of the hospital and improve outreach services to rural clinics and communities. Building on the work of the Panzi Hospital, the foundation works to promote basic quality health care for marginalized populations. In particular it aims to improve access to and the quality of maternal and reproductive health, promote and encourage the application of women’s rights and gender equality and prevent violence against women and children.
Projects undertaken by the Panzi Foundation seek to support survivors of rape and sexual violence to rebuild their lives and those of their communities. Some projects include
The City of Joy
The City of Joy is an initiative supported by the international movement V-DAY. It will hold a special place in the region and serve as a leadership and skills training centre with the message: “From Pain to Power”. The City of Joy focuses on leadership training and development for women activists to continue the struggle for women’s rights and justice for survivors.
Financial Support: V-Day and Unicef
Project Implementation: Panzi Foundation DRC, V-Day
Maison Dorcas is a transit and safety house for survivors of violence or those under long-or medium-term care for fistula and incontinence healing. Women receive training in literacy and numeracy, small business management and other skills aimed at improving livelihood. In addition, women benefit from continuous psychosocial and medical care, including group and individual therapy. The transit house partners with local women’s associations and cooperatives to provide assistance with family mediation and micro-credit.
The Panzi Foundation is currently establishing three other houses in zones highly affected by conflicts. These will be focussed on areas with high numbers of survivors and near hospitals still receiving large numbers of recent survivors. These transit-safe houses provide women with a safe environment in order to heal and learn new skills for their eventual community and/or family reintegration.
Financial Support: PMU, UNICEF, NCA, and Stephen Lewis Foundation
Project Implementation: NCA, PMU, Panzi Foundation USA, Panzi Foundation DRC
The USHINDI Project in Mwenga, Kitutu and Shabunda
USHINDI is the Swahili word for victory, and the project focuses on Mwenga, Kitutu and Shabunda health zones areas in South Kivu. These areas have a high incidence of sexual violence, and few programs are meeting the needs of survivors there due to insecurity and inaccessibility. The project takes a holistic approach including medical, psychosocial, legal and economic support for survivors of violence and children born of rape. Specialised psychosocial assistance and medical care is provided to survivors and the project supplies medicines to a number of health posts in the remote areas of Mwenga, Kitutu and Shabunda. Activities involve training of community leaders, providers of health care, police and paralegals, social assistants, and community mobilizers. Legal advice, microfinance services and literacy training will also be offered to women through the USHINDI program.
Through community mobilization against domestic violence and training of local leaders, communities are expected to improve their capacity of identifying and responding to cases of gender based violence.
This project started in 2010 with financing from USAID and will run over five years in nine health zones in Eastern DRC. Panzi Foundation and HEAL Africa are the implementers of the project in South Kivu.
Financial Support: USAID
Project Implementation: Panzi Foundation DRC, IMA World Health
Panzi Foundation DRC is also involved in other projects such as mobile clinics, justice and legal advice, mental health initiatives and support for health centres outside of Bukavu.