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Elizabeth Cooney is a health reporter for the Worcester Telegram & Gazette.
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Thursday, October 11, 2007
Second Harvard team heading to Congo to help women injured by rape
Physicians and public health specialists from Harvard will join their colleagues in Congo to care for women who have suffered rape-related injuries.
The Harvard Humanitarian Initiative has been working since May with Panzi Hospital in the eastern part of the Democratic Republic of Congo, where up to 70 percent of girls and women have been raped or sexually mutilated, the group said in a statement today. Their medical problems include pregnancy, sexually transmitted disease (including HIV), and traumatic fistula – a condition that leaves women incontinent. A story in Sunday's New York Times describes the brutal violence that brings about 10 women to the Panzi Hospital each day.
The Harvard surgeons and researchers will perform gynecologic surgery, begin training programs, and initiate research into the causes of the violence. Their efforts will be coordinated with Doctors Without Borders, United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, the International Urogynecological Association, V-Day, Brigham & Women’s Hospital, and University of Illinois.