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The Panzi Model


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The Panzi Model


Panzi Hospital and Foundation’s world-renowned five-pillar holistic healing model works to meet the full spectrum of needs for survivors of sexualized violence, women who have suffered complex gynecological injuries, and vulnerable populations throughout South Kivu. We create a safe and healing space that supports not only women’s physical healing, but fosters their emotional recovery, helps to rebuild their livelihoods and contributes to the long-term, sustainable restoration of their communities.

The Panzi Hospital and Foundations family has provided compassionate, healing support to more than 40,000 women and girls, nearly 20,000 of whom have been survivors of sexualized violence. We invite you to meet one of these women: Furaha. 

40% - 60% of women treated at Panzi Hospital are unable to return to their homes after medical treatment, because of the extent of their injuries, ongoing violence, or, most often, the deep stigma associated with sexual violence and fistula. These women continue along their healing journey at Maison Dorcas, our innovative after-care center and community center. Our five-pillar holistic healing model includes physical care, psychosocial support, community reintegration services, legal assistance, and education and advocacy to address the root causes of violence. 

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Physical Care


WORLD-CLASS MEDICAL TREATMENT

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Physical Care


WORLD-CLASS MEDICAL TREATMENT

At Panzi, survivors of sexual violence have access to world-class medical services. With 370 skilled and dedicated doctors, nurses, and support staff, using modern equipment not found in other Congolese hospitals, Panzi offers the best, and often only, opportunity for medical care in the region. Close to 18,000 consultations are conducted each year at the hospital and its rural outreach clinics. The hospital has 450 beds, 250 of which are dedicated to survivors of sexual violence and women in need of complex gynecological care.

The hospital is located 8 kilometers from the center of Bukavu in the eastern DRC. It is the recognized General Reference Hospital for the Ibanda Health Zone, serving a population of over 400,000, and accepts patients from throughout the region. Over the years, the hospital has expanded its services in response to the needs of the population, with departments of General Internal Medicine, Surgery, Gynecology and Obstetrics, and Pediatrics. Panzi also hosts outpatient services such as family medicine clinics, ear, nose and throat (ENT), a dental clinic, an optometrist; a radiology unit; and a cervical cancer screening program.  

Panzi Foundation is deeply grateful to Panzi Hospital's many dedicated partners, who provide critical support for its physical healing services.  While Panzi Foundation was originally founded to meet the needs of women and girls beyond physical treatment, where necessary, we work to fill in funding gaps for this front-line service. 

Healing Services for Survivors of Sexual Violence and Complex Injuries

Endre Vestvik

Endre Vestvik

Panzi Hospital is world-renowned for its best-in-class services treating survivors of sexualized violence and complex gynecological injuries. Each woman works with our doctors and clinicians to create a tailor-made healing pathway, including both physical and psychological treatment options.

From her first moments, each patient works closely with a social assistant to ensure her treatment meets the full spectrum of her physical and initial psychological needs. For those patients able to return to their home communities, our staff accompanies them home and offers mediation and counseling to support each woman’s successful reintegration.

In 2015, Panzi Hospital (not including its rural clinics) saw 2533 women with complex gynecological injuries resulting not only from the brutal rape that has characterized Congo’s two decades of war, but from prolonged, obstructed, and complicated births in areas where access to quality maternal care is a massive challenge (1877 of the 2533 women were survivors of rape). We believe that all women deserve access to healing services, and accept women into our Survivors of Sexualized Violence (SSV) program based on their injuries, not based on how those injuries were sustained. 

 

 

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Psychosocial Support


GROUNDBREAKING THERAPEUTIC PROGRAMS

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Psychosocial Support


GROUNDBREAKING THERAPEUTIC PROGRAMS

When the first survivors arrived at Panzi Hospital in 1999, Dr. Mukwege and the Panzi staff realized immediately that physical healing would not be enough. Many survivors do not immediately have the emotional strength to withstand the rigorous, complex physical recovery process, often requiring multiple surgeries over an extended period. The front-line of treatment at Panzi, therefore, is psychological.

A woman first arriving at Panzi meets immediately with a social assistant, who provides an initial assessment and begins working with the woman and our psychological unit to address her most urgent needs. It is only after each woman is assessed to be emotionally resilient enough to undergo treatment that she is cleared for surgery.

Survivors have continued access to psychosocial support, including group therapy and groundbreaking innovations like our Music Therapy program, through the programs at our after-care center, Maison Dorcas. Here, survivors and vulnerable community members join to chart forward their healing paths – not in isolation, but together. Working side-by-side with women from the community helps to break down stigma and social barriers, bolstering each woman’s support network and strengthening her further.

Healing Through Music

Our innovative new Music Therapy Program, implemented in partnership with the Panzi Foundation DRC staff at Maison Dorcas and Make Music Matter, and with support from the Humanitarian Innovation Fund, is helping survivors, vulnerable women, children and Panzi staff use the healing power of music to recover from traumatic past experiences. Learn more.

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Community Reintegration


REBUILDING FAMILIES AND COMMUNITIES

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Community Reintegration


REBUILDING FAMILIES AND COMMUNITIES

40-60% of the women who seek treatment at Panzi Hospital are unable to return to their home communities either because of the extent of their injuries, ongoing violence, or, most often, deep stigma surrounding sexual violence and fistula. These women are able to continue their healing journey, alongside vulnerable women from the surrounding communities, at our innovative Maison Dorcas aftercare center.

Here, women and girls (and their dependent children) receive housing, meals, and access to ongoing therapeutic care. Our economic and community reintegration programs also support women in rebuilding their economic lives and building more stable futures. Working alongside vulnerable community members, survivors participate in 12-month training programs that include literacy and math classes, job skills training, micro-grants and –loans to support the women in launching micro-enterprises, and outreach projects to rural communities.  

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Legal Assistance


PIONEERING THE PURSUIT OF JUSTICE

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Legal Assistance


PIONEERING THE PURSUIT OF JUSTICE

Enhancing women’s rights through legal assistance and representation, as well as providing forensic evidence and strengthening local capacities to prevent and monitor abuses, is critical to restoring balance and ensuring protection for survivors and their communities. The Panzi Legal Clinic helps file hundreds of complains per year linked to sexual and gender-based violence and supports survivors with reparations kits.

The Panzi Legal Clinic works with vulnerable women and survivors of sexual violence throughout Bukavu and, through its rural clinics, in the  territories of Kabare, Kalehe, and Walungu as well, increasing the number of successful prosecutions in each. The rural clinics also play a key role in referring women in need of emergency medical care to Panzi Hospital, and referring relevant cases to our Maison Dorcas after-care center for safe shelter, support, and community reintegration services.

The Legal Clinic’s robust and dynamic public awareness initiatives have contributed to greater awareness and understanding of human rights issues and, in particular, women’s rights as enshrined by Congolese and international law, throughout the rural territories. Through persistent advocacy, our legal teams have also made significant progress in working with judicial authorities to reduce the duration of time it takes to close a case and obtain judgement.  Through meetings and one-on-one targeted discussions with legal administrators and authorities, Panzi has cut time to process certain cases in half from six to three months, and some sexual violence cases now take as little as two months. 

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Education and Advocacy


ADDRESSING THE ROOT CAUSES OF VIOLENCE

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Education and Advocacy


ADDRESSING THE ROOT CAUSES OF VIOLENCE

We must work to stem the tide of survivors arriving at our doorsteps each day by healing not only individual bodies, spirits, and lives, but the families, communities, and nation in which they live.

Civil society in Congo has grown into a powerful and inspiring force, capable of creating significant and positive change. Our Panzi team works to strengthen civil society further and address the root issues driving violence and conflict in Congo.

In Congo

With support from our Badilika Project, this civil society organization is working to restore justice to hundreds of South Kivu families whose homes were demolished without due process or compensation. 

With support from our Badilika Project, this civil society organization is working to restore justice to hundreds of South Kivu families whose homes were demolished without due process or compensation. 

Panzi’s innovative Badilika (Change) Program works to increase the accountability of the Congolese government and local authorities to protect human rights, reduce women’s vulnerability, and practice good governance. By making critical investments in local, Congolese civil society organizations and providing technical support and trainings, our Badilika staff is working to ensure that all Congolese citizens are aware of their rights, their responsibilities, and the accountability they should be able to expect from their leaders. Our team has worked with more than 750 grassroots civil society organizations in the provinces of South Kivu, North Kivu, and Maniema. Building and supporting coalitions, Panzi is building civil society’s capacity to address the root causes of violence and rebuild Congolese communities on principles of human rights and gender equality.

Organizations supported through Badilika are making real advances in their own communities. One has shut down brothels complicit in the recruitment of young girls in to prostitution, and is launching a class-action lawsuit to win restitution for vulnerable families whose homes were demolished without due compensation.

Internationally

Dr. Mukwege and the Panzi Foundation team meet with US Ambassador to the UN Samantha Power

Dr. Mukwege is committed to using his international platform to bring the voices of women, vulnerable communities, and civil society leaders to the halls of international power. We hold high-level meetings with dignitaries such as US Ambassador to the UN Samantha Power, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon, and members of the US National Security Council at the White House. These meetings allow us to ensure that Congolese voices are at the forefront of the policy conversation.

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Innovations in the Field


GROUNDBREAKING TREATMENTS AND RESEARCH

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Innovations in the Field


GROUNDBREAKING TREATMENTS AND RESEARCH

Panzi is committed to finding integrating and innovating on the best, most effective treatments for our holistic healing model. We implement groundbreaking new techniques, and back up our work with the research necessary to evaluate, iterate, and continue our innovation.

Healing through Music

Women participate in a rhythm exercise to help connect their bodies and minds, and to begin building trust amongst their cohort.

Women participate in a rhythm exercise to help connect their bodies and minds, and to begin building trust amongst their cohort.

Our innovative Music Therapy Program, implemented in partnership with the Panzi Foundation DRC staff at Maison Dorcas and Make Music Matter, and with support from the Humanitarian Innovation Fund, is helping survivors, vulnerable women, children and Panzi staff use the healing power of music to recover from traumatic past experiences.

In cohorts, participants work in tandem with both a psychologist and a professional music producer to write and record powerful songs in the program's state-of-the-art recording studio, built on the Maison Dorcas campus. The songs are released through radio broadcasts, social media, and performances in community concerts, breaking down stigma about sexual violence and other isolating issues. 

Data-Driven Research and Program Evaluation

A joint initiative between our partners at Panzi Foundation DRC and the Evangelical University in Africa (UAE), the International Center for Advanced Research and Training (ICART) aims to improve research capacity at Panzi by training physicians and staff on research methods, conducting ethical research on human subjects, management and analysis, scientific writing and presentations, and publication. Staff and faculty are gaining the skills necessary to become strong voices and leaders in the international research community, addressing the needs and future direction of DRC with data-driven, evidence-based recommendations for both the policy and philanthropic communities.

Our team is working hard to become the top regional research and training center in this region of Africa - but we need your help! Central to ICART's ability to collect and analyze quality data in the field is access to a safe and reliable method of transportation. Support our effort to purchase a jeep, and help us ensure that Congolese expert voices are at the forefront of the conversation!