Helping the Girls of the Congo: Part One


This is the first in a series of posts about six Mayo Clinic medical experts traveling to the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

According to V-Day, the Democratic Republic of the Congo is the most dangerous place on the planet to be a woman or a girl. Since 1996, sexual violence in the eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo has been used as a weapon of war to torture, humiliate and destroy women and girls, as well as their families and communities. Hundreds of thousands of girls, ranging from 10-month old babies to 87-year old elders, have been raped. In addition to the severe psychological impact, many victims are left incontinent, with fistulas and broken bones, unwanted pregnancies and sexually transmitted diseases.

Panzi Hospital in Bukavu is the only hospital available to meet the high demand for services for female victims of sexual violence. Next week, six Mayo Clinic staff members (Deborah Rhodes, M.D., Philip Fischer, M.D., Sean Dowdy, M.D., Emanuel Trabuco, M.D., Doug Creedon, M.D., Ph.D., and Lois McGuire, R.N., C.N.P.) will be traveling to the Democratic Republic of the Congo to work with Dr. Denis Mukwege at Panzi Hospital offering exams, performing surgeries, providing necessary medical supplies and equipment, and giving educational lectures.

Watch for more posts so you can follow the team’s important journey.

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14 Responses to “Helping the Girls of the Congo: Part One”

  1. Helping the Girls of the Congo – Overview « Sharing Mayo Clinic Says:

    […] Part One […]

  2. Dee Anderson Says:

    Note to one and all, you are in my thoughts and prayers as you carry out this most important position. Be safe and we will see you when you return to Mayo. Dee

  3. Lori Wright Says:

    Lois, I just learned today that you left last week. I pray things are going well. I know that you will make a big difference in the women life there. I think what you are doing is wonderful.

    Take care!

  4. Annette Johnson Says:

    Hi Lois,
    Thinking of you and praying for your whole group. Will look forward to hearing about your brave journey.
    Love you, Annette

  5. Linda Rolands Says:

    Hello Lou! I hope your trip is eventful because i know it will be emotional. I am so proud of you and the work that you are doing. I do fear for you and above all else want you to be safe! I love you and I am praying for you! I can not wait to hear your very “distinct” laugh!! The last part was mark. I am here in las vegas with him now and we are talking about you, all good things. Come home safe and God speed.


    Linda and Mark

  6. Jan Lieder Says:

    One of the many reasons I am proud to be part of Mayo Clinic. Thank you for your caring gift to these women.

  7. Alison Sadowy Says:

    Thanks to the team for this important work. I already know you all have strength, courage, wisdom, and compassion, so now my blessing for you is that the women who have been devestated by war and uncertainty will be touched by your care and kindness. Safe travels.

  8. Siri Heille Says:

    God Bless You All on your travels. I pray for your safety and impact on these women. Blessed are the Peacemakers…

  9. Ann Hathaway Says:

    I had the privilege of hearing Dr. Rhodes speak about this initiative, something she felt compelled to pursue in spite of the many challenges that she faced (and overcame) in order to do so. The work that she and the others will do is representative of the passion and commitment that is so much a part of Mayo Clinic and its staff.

  10. Helping the Girls of the Congo: Part Three « Sharing Mayo Clinic Says:

    […] Part One and Part Two series posts, this one focuses on the transportation of supplies. Tom Griffin is the […]

  11. Suzanne Leaf-Brock Says:

    How selfless and dedicated the people of Mayo Clinic are! I will be with you in my heart.

  12. Helping the Girls of the Congo: Part Two « Sharing Mayo Clinic Says:

    […] Sharing Mayo Clinic Patient Stories and Employee Stories « Helping the Girls of the Congo: Part One […]

  13. Linda Rockey Says:

    May peace be with you all as you journey to save lives in the Congo. So proud of you all and Mayo Clinic for its participation.

  14. Valerie Hansen Says:

    As a patient of Dr Trabuco, I thank you for your courage to care for the women of the Congo. The region you are heading to is surely one of the most unstable in Africa. The horrific rape and violence toward women documented.
    Less known perhaps is the role of the mineral coltan (tantalum) found in all modern electronics (computers, cellular phones, almost all things digital). Coltan also finances the rebel forces fighting and committing atrocities in the Congo.

    The latter video is a documentary by Journeyman Pictures. It suggests coltan is radioactive and that the women/children you will see may suffer complications.

    My thoughts and prayers are with you. Have a productive and safe journey. I’ll watch for to updates. Travel safely.

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