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ACNM Supports Congolese Activist Dr. Denis Mukwege

Three-time Nobel Peace Prize Nominee, Obstetric Surgeon Survived Assassination Attempt

For Immediate Release:
November 1, 2012

Contact: Barbra Elenbaas
Office: (240) 485-1822
E-mail: [email protected]

Silver Spring, MD - The American College of Nurse-Midwives was shocked and saddened to learn of the assassination attempt that targeted Dr. Denis Mukwege on October 25, 2012. Dr. Mukwege is a humanitarian, staunch advocate for women, and founder and medical director at Panzi Hospital in the eastern region of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).  He continues to practice as a surgeon at the hospital, which he founded to provide critical services to women who have been the victims of the rampant sexual violence resulting from DRC’s disastrous civil war and its ongoing aftermath. This 14-year conflict has cost an estimated 3 million lives – more than any other civil war in recent history – and countless millions have been displaced. Systematic rape has been a hallmark of the war, with the UN reporting as many as 27,000 victims per year. The rapes are often so brutal that they result in horrific gynecologic injuries. The hospital offers many of its services free to survivors, many of whom have walked hundreds of kilometers to obtain care after being assaulted. Dr. Mukwege is known worldwide for his work with survivors of rape and assault.

Dr. Mukwege has been honored by the United Nations with the 2008 Human Rights Prize, the Olof Palme Prize, the Wallenberg Medal for outstanding humanitarian work, and the Clinton Global Citizen Award.  He has been nominated three times for the Nobel Peace Prize. His recent speech at the United Nations General Assembly in September strongly condemned the leaders of the DRC and Rwanda for their inability to bring this violence to an end.  He and his family could easily move from the DRC but he chooses to remain at Panzi Hospital to serve the women of the Congo who have suffered from the cruelty of war.  His supporters believe that publicity regarding his advocacy and the dangers he and his family are facing will be the strongest protector of his continued safety and work. 

About the American College of Nurse-Midwives
The American College of Nurse-Midwives (ACNM) is the professional association that represents certified nurse-midwives (CNMs) and certified midwives (CMs) in the United States. ACNM promotes excellence in midwifery education, clinical practice, and research. With roots dating to 1929, our members are primary care providers for women throughout the lifespan, with a special emphasis on pregnancy, childbirth, and gynecologic and reproductive health. ACNM provides research, administers and promotes continuing education programs, establishes clinical practice standards, and creates liaisons with state and federal agencies and members of Congress to increase the visibility and recognition of midwifery care. Visit http://www.midwife.org/ for more information.

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