Dr Denis Mukwege addresses the FIGO World Congress 2018, shortly after being awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.
Dr Mukwege was recognised for his outstanding work in the treatment of women subjected to sexual violence, and as a global campaigner against the use of rape as a weapon for war.
He spoke from Panzi Hospital in Bukavu, DR Congo, where he works alongside FIGO Fellows Dr Kenny Raha and Dr Dieudonne Boengandi to treat women living with obstetric fistula.
In his speech, Dr Mukwege dedicated his prize to his colleagues, the OBGYNs who ensure women’s dignity and who make a critical contribution to women’s wellbeing.
Click to watch the video, in French. Translation in English below.
Dear honourable colleagues:
It is with great joy that I send my warmest greetings to you on this special occasion.
I should have been with you for this great meeting of OB-GYNS but unfortunately, I have to presently be in Bukavu, in the Panzi Hospital for a planned surgical programme with partners from Belgian universities; an activity which was arranged a long time ago.
I am even working on Sundays at the moment to make sure that all cases are operated on before the departure of the Belgian mission.
I regret that I am not able to be with you, but I’m sure you fully understand that I am obliged to be in Bukavu presently for this activity.
I have heard of many activities taking place in the Congress, and my heart is with you.
I know you are going to work hard to ensure continued improvement of gyneco-obstetric practices, at the local and global levels.
I congratulate you for your dedication and determination.
Dear colleagues, you have almost certainly heard that the Nobel Committee has honoured us by awarding us the Nobel Peace Prize, along with Madame Nadia Murad.
We have accepted this prize with all the women who are victims of sexual violence in my country and elsewhere. This is a symbol to acknowledge their suffering and reflecting our commitment – not only to respond to their medical needs, but to draw a red line and take a stand against rapes and sexual violence in armed conflicts across the world.
This prize belongs to you, you who in your daily activities, give the very best of yourselves to bring life into the world, to accompany life and to save lives.
How can I not dedicate this prize to you who ensure women’s dignity and who make such a critical contribution to women’s wellbeing.
In addition to all the knowledge that you are going to share and acquire, as well as all you are going to accomplish during the Congress, I would like to send my very best greetings and my friendship to you all, dear colleagues.