Conflict-related sexual violence
Master class by Dr Denis Mukwege, Nobel Peace Prize winner 2018 and director of the Panzi Hospital
Laudation: Rector Herman Van Goethem
- Master class: Vaccine Emotions: Why politics, beliefs and histories matter
By Prof Heidi Larson, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine
Vaccine reluctance and refusal are no longer on the margins of society, but have become increasingly mainstream and global, entwined with geo-political issues, as well as local political campaigns, religious and cultural issues, and age old devotion to Mother Nature over modern technology. Those dissenting are parents, politicians, and in some cases even health professionals. Their questions and issues are varied, and they are not giving up in their quest for answers. Do we really need so many vaccines? Are they safe? Why can’t we (the public) choose what we want? What are the real motives? Who is the State to impose mandates on our freedom of choice, and impose on our religious or other beliefs?
What is common to all these questions is deep underlying doubt and distrust. What happened?
This talk considered vaccine emotions in Europe –where there were more measles in 2018 than in all of Africa, psychosomatic reactions among adolescent girls after HPV vaccination in multiple countries – from Latin America to Asia, vaccination in the context of Ebola and civil conflict, and stalled polio eradication because of militancy in Pakistan’s northwest frontier and Nigeria’s Boko Haram. Vaccine emotions are about much more than just the vaccine.
- Master class: Conflict-related sexual violence
By Dr Denis Mukwege, Nobel Peace Prize winner 2018 and director of the Panzi Hospital
Dr Denis Mukwege campaigns globally to bring the use of rape and sexual violence as a weapon of war to an end.
As the number of rape victims arriving at the gate of Panzi Hospital increased, Denis Mukwege realised that medical services alone will not solve the problem. “You can’t operate against violence,” he says. “You can only abolish it.” Together with the Yazidi activist Nadia Murad, Dr Mukwege received the 2018 Nobel Peace Prize for his “efforts to end the use of sexual violence as a weapon of war and armed conflict.”
In his efforts to bring the topic to the attention of the UN and other international organisations, to increase protection for women and to advocate that those responsible for sexual violence be brought to justice, he has become a leading activist for human rights and gender equality.
Mukwege is “the helper” who has provided medical care and surgery for thousands of survivors of sexual violence in his country, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). In 1999 he founded the Panzi Hospital that’s become known for its comprehensive support to over 48,482 survivors of sexual violence.