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    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.