Many civilians are former rebels.
Levi Luhiriri, who works as a doctor at the hospital, said Mukwege was fair but tough and strived for internationally-recognised standards.
As well as his tireless medical work, Mukwege has fronted a worldwide campaign against trade in conflict diamonds and minerals.
He has also spoken out several times against a “climate of oppression” in his country.
Instead of relying on the elections, he said, he would endeavour to “struggle peacefully” against the influence of Kabila, who has ruled since 2001.
DR Congo has not known a peaceful transition of power since gaining independence from Belgium in 1960.
After his Nobel award was announced, DR Congo authorities congratulated Mukwege for his “very important work”, but accused him of mixing humanitarian work and politics.
– Many awards –
Born on March 1, 1955, in Bukavu, the third of nine children, Mukwege was inspired to become a doctor by his father, a pastor who used to visit the sick.
After studying medicine in neighbouring Burundi, he returned to work at Lemera hospital, south of Bukavu, before pursuing specialist training in gynaecology in France.
A devout Christian, “he lives up to his values in everything he does,” said one European woman who worked with him in Panzi. “He never gives up.”
He has been honoured by the United Nations and has received many other international awards, including the Olof Palme Prize in January 2009 and the Sakharov Prize in 2014. In September 2016, he also won the Seoul Peace Prize.
He was appointed a professor at the Universite Libre de Bruxelles in Belgium in 2015.