I remember my feelings of shock and helplessness after learning about traumatic fistula, which – in addition to its debilitating physical symptoms – leads victims to be shunned and isolated from their communities. Traumatic fistulas are common in conflict and post-conflict settings, and are often the result of violent rape coupled with deliberate damage.
This week in Strasbourg, France, the European Parliament bestows its most prestigious human rights award, the Sakharov Prize, to Dr. Denis Mukwege, who is world-renowned for the struggle to prevent rape in the war-ravaged and underdeveloped Democratic Republic of the Congo.
PHR has helped local activists create numerous self-governing medical-legal networks across Kenya and the Democratic Republic of the Congo to help facilitate collaboration and cooperation among medical professionals, legal and judicial experts, the media, local communities, and NGOs.
Our dear friend and medical partner Dr. Denis Mukwege of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) was announced the winner of the Sakharov Prize.
It was foreseeable that if an Ebola outbreak in an impoverished African country moved from rural to urban areas, the existing heath care systems would be unable to treat everyone or prevent further transmissions. Years of conflict, lack of education, corruption, distrust of government, and chronic underinvestment in the health care system would take their toll.