Dr. Jacques: His Courage. His Conviction. His Story.

Dr. Jacques Sebisaho grew up on an island called Idjwi, belonging to the Democratic Republic of the Congo. It is the second largest inland island in Africa, and the tenth largest in the world. Idjwi is roughly equidistant between the DRC and Rwanda, with 10 to 15 kilometers separating its western shore from the DRC mainland and a similar distance between its eastern shore and the coastline of Rwanda. Historically a clan-based society, Idjwi Island became a kingdom in the late 18th century under the influence of the neighboring Kingdom of Rwanda.

Before 2010, malnutrition was common in Idjwi, with ten percent of children under five and 20 percent of nursing mothers malnourished. With the nearest hospital located eight hours away to the Southern tip of Idjwi, which was being serviced by only four doctors, three percent of the population was dying from preventable causes.

With close proximity to Rwanda and populations consisting of Hutus and Tutsi, Dr. Jacques Sebisaho has had his fair share of danger and death threats, very much because he looked like a Tutsi. “It was part of the reason I left Congo,” he said. Dr. Sebisaho went to the seminary in DRC, then medical school in Belgium before…

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