Pharmacie à l'hôpital Umdawanban dans l'État de Khartoum. MSF, en collaboration avec le ministère de la Santé, soutient l'hôpital depuis juin 2023. © MSF

The Healing Hands of Sudan: A Sudanese Doctor's Account

On Friday, February 16, 2024

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Le Dr Mohammad Bashir travaille avec MSF depuis plusieurs années. Il supervise les activités médicales dans les hôpitaux Umdawnban et Alban Aljadeed dans l'État de Khartoum qui ont été soutenus par MSF depuis juillet-août 2023. © MSF

“Before April 15 of last year, I never imagined that I would find myself in Khartoum, the capital city of our country, working in a conflict zone.

I am a doctor from Sudan, and I’ve worked with MSF for several years. But I’ve never seen anything like the suffering that people in my country now are enduring daily. This conflict is devastating. More than 7 million people are displaced by this conflict in Sudan and neighbouring countries, people have fled the violence, many finding themselves almost destitute in informal camps.

Like so many others, the conflict has not spared me and my loved ones.

Dr Mohammad Bashir, MSF Deputy Medical Coordinator in Sudan.



Sudan has long struggled with a fragile healthcare system, and the ongoing conflict has brought it crashing down. I have been supporting MSF teams in two hospitals in Khartoum State and another one in Um Rakuba refugee camp in the east for the past months. When people think about medical needs in a conflict, often they think about people injured by bombs or bullets. But I’ve also seen growing numbers of medical emergencies caused by complications from untreated chronic diseases. People who might have successfully managed diabetes or asthma for years are now unable to find the medications they need to live.

The need for maternity care is also striking, especially for pregnant women requiring C-sections or emergency deliveries. That is why in Umdawnban, one of the hospitals I have covered, our team has been supporting the maternity team, assisting in over 1500 births since last July. But across the country, many maternity services have not been regularly functioned, leaving pregnant women facing life-threatening complications without access to emergency obstetric care. And where healthcare services are available, the quality of care remains a concern.

En juin, en collaboration avec le ministère de la Santé, l'équipe MSF a commencé à soutenir l'hôpital Umdawanban dans l'État de Khartoum, afin d'améliorer les services de santé pour les communautés. © MSF

More is needed

As a citizen and as a doctor, I feel deep alarm when I consider the growing health needs in my homeland. Some of these pre-date the conflict, but all of them are worsened by it. Sudan has a troubling history of outbreaks such as measles and meningitis. These highly contagious diseases can be prevented through vaccination, but without they can be fatal, especially in young children. One fact that puts children particularly at risk is malnutrition, which impairs the immune system.

With the collapse of the healthcare system and hundreds of thousands of people now having fled the violence, often living in crowded makeshift camps, large scale vaccination programmes and nutritional support are more than crucial – they are a potential lifeline.


In Sudan, most of the areas MSF is operating in remain active battle zones. This makes our work incredibly challenging and dangerous, but it also makes us more determined.

The determination I mention here isn't solely focused on MSF; I extend it to the communities that come together to support each other. For instance, in Um Rakuba camp, in the east of Sudan, MSF provides desperately needed humanitarian care to thousands of people who live in and around the refugee camp. When the conflict erupted, it was unclear if it would be possible to continue our support there, but with the determination of a core team, there has been no gap in the service. Last year we delivered 40,000 medical consultations to refugees as well as to the host community and assisted 507 women to give birth safely. Our determination is shared: in Um Rakuba I’ve seen first-hand the important role local volunteers and community midwives are playing.

En juin, en collaboration avec le ministère de la Santé, l'équipe MSF a commencé à soutenir l'hôpital Umdawanban dans l'État de Khartoum, afin d'améliorer les services de santé pour les communautés. © MSF

Determination is not enough…

But sometimes determination isn’t enough. My sacred oath as a doctor is to do all that I can for people who need medical care. And in my role as an MSF deputy medical coordinator, that means not only treating individual patients, but also coordinating care on a larger scale, ensuring that staff and supplies are where they are needed most.

But how do I hold onto my pledge in a situation when resources and helping hands are impeded and exposed to dangers? This question echoes in my thoughts both day and night.

It’s now a matter of life and death that all parties to this conflict recognize MSF’s sole purpose: to offer medical care to the most vulnerable, free of charge. We need access as well as safeguard for our teams and supplies as much as for patients, not tomorrow, but now. The lives we strive to save depend on it.

A part of me

My work in Sudan, my country, is not just a job; it's a part of my humanity. And my ethical duty is that I, like my colleagues in MSF, do all we can to relieve suffering in the face of conflict. 

And I remain dedicated to this cause.”

Dr Mohammad Bashir, coordinateur médical adjoint de MSF au Soudan.


En juin 2023, en collaboration avec le ministère de la Santé, l'équipe MSF a commencé à soutenir l'hôpital d'Umdawanban dans l'État de Khartoum, afin d'améliorer les services de santé pour les communautés. Nos équipes travaillent à l'amélioration des services essentiels de pédiatrie, de nutrition et de maternité. © MSF

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