Democratic Republic of the Congo

Why Do We Work in the Congo?

The Congo is considered to be one of the worst places to be born a woman. Plagued by violence and killing in a “war of liberation” begun in 1996, millions have been killed and rape of women is widely used as a tool of war. Not only does fistula occur as a result of rape, but also because many woman are delivering without medical help for the simple reason that they fear for their safety and will not venture out to go to a Hospital for help. The Fistula Foundation is choosing to target its support for the Congo in light of the dramatic need for treatment and also to offer a glimmer of hope to the nation’s women.

What You Help Us Do in the Congo

We’re helping fund:

  • Fistula surgery treatment
  • Outreach/Community Mobilization


Panzi Hospital in Bukavu, the capital city of the country’s South Kivu Province
HEAL Africa in Goma and at various host hospitals

How much funding have we granted?

Panzi Hospital

$631,061 in FY2013
$226,856 in FY2011
$204,100 in FY2010
$200,000 in FY2009

HEAL Africa

$231,298 in FY2013
$20,000 in FY2012
$100,000 in FY2011

Who’s our partner?

We provide direct support.

How will this help women in the Congo?

Determined to confront the injuries of the population, Dr. Denis Mukwege founded Panzi Hospital in 1999. The 400-bed hospital is renowned for its services to internally displaced persons, specifically victims of sexual violence. From 1999 to 2010, 2,544 women suffering from obstetric fistula received free, high-quality treatment here. The Fistula Foundation began funding the hospital’s obstetric fistula services in 2009 and is honored to be a major supporter of the Panzi Hospital and Dr. Mukwege, whose deep and abiding commitment to serving his people — and particularly women with obstetric fistula and traumatic fistula — is truly inspiring.

HEAL Africa has been performing fistula repair since 2003. They have three resident Congolese specialist surgeons and receive additional support from internationally acclaimed visiting surgeons. HEAL Africa is working to raise awareness in the region of the availability of fistula treatment and is educating communities about how to ensure safe delivery. They send qualified outreach surgical teams to selected rural hospitals, making care more accessible. HEAL also provides training to local surgeons about performing safe C-sections. HEAL provides free fistula surgeries and pre-and-post-operative care for indigent patients, and teaches women how to sew, read, write and weave through HEALing Arts, a skills building program for women who are waiting for or recovering from fistula or prolapse repair surgeries. The Fistula Foundation is proud to support HEAL’s work in raising awareness about and providing treatment for women suffering from obstetric fistula.

Where is Democratic Republic of the Congo?

Democratic Republic of the Congo

Facts About Democratic Republic of the Congo

  • Population:71,712,867
  • Average births per woman:6
  • Physicians per 10,000 people:1
  • Births attended by skilled personnel:74%
  • Lifetime risk of maternal death:1 in 30(chances a woman will die during childbirth)
  • Female life expectancy:57 years
  • Female literacy:62%
  • Population living in rural areas:65%
  • Population living in poverty:59%(less than $1.25/day)

Sources: CIA World Fact Book; WHO, World Bank.

We’re Making a Difference in Democratic Republic of the Congo

Irene, from Democratic Republic of Congo (photo credit: HEAL Africa)

Meet Irene from Democratic Republic of the Congo

Irene is from Idjwi Island, in the middle of Lake Kivu between Democratic Republic of Congo and Rwanda. At age 19, Irene was raped and became pregnant. Due to delayed medical attention, Irene was left with an obstetric fistula.
Izzy Howerton

Supporter Spotlight
St. Louis, MO: Running for a Reason

Izzy Howerton is a runner who loves to go the distance. Earlier this year, she put her hobby to use by hitting the pavement for women with obstetric fistula. Inspired by a Global Action Project class, in which she learned about global issues and how to solve them, Izzy decided to take on the issue…

Global Impact

Fistula Foundation Named a Partner Charity of Global Impact

Global Impact announces its newest list of partner charities, including Fistula Foundation: Global Impact is thrilled to announce that it has added nine new partners to the Global Impact Charity Alliance. The Charity Alliance is made up of more than 80 nonprofit organizations, ranging from large agencies with worldwide recognition to charities providing vital services…

We Need YOU!

To follow our work, sign up here for our e-newsletter...