By Salma Dali, MD
Since April 15, 2023, there has been an eruption of violence in Sudan that has killed many innocent civilians and caused a humanitarian crisis. Dictator Omar Al Bashir ran Sudan for 30 years until a revolution in 2019 displaced him from power and led to a transitional government. The Sudanese Armed Forces seized power through another coup in 2021, planning to transition to an elected civilian government by the end of 2023. But before the promised transition, war broke out due to a power struggle and infighting between two groups: the Sudanese Armed Forces and the Rapid Support Forces, formerly referred to as Janjaweed, which was responsible for much of the genocide in Darfur.
Innocent civilians have been caught in airstrikes, bombings and shootings. The airport has been demolished, markets destroyed, ambulances seized, hospitals shut down, and power and water shut off. People have been violently forced out of their homes and taken perilous journeys to seek safety. Hundreds of people have been killed and many more injured. There are calls for ceasefire and peace, though violence is ongoing.
To raise awareness about the current humanitarian crisis in Sudan, Salma Dali, MD, a UCSF pediatric hospital medicine fellow and affiliate faculty of IGHS, led a virtual teach-in for the UCSF community and discussed ways to provide support. Dali is Sudanese American who was born in Sudan – this background has given her a unique perspective and fueled her dedication to medicine.
During the teach-in, she provided historical context leading to the violence in Sudan and its impact on her personally. “Most of my family is still there,” Dali said, adding that not a day goes by that she doesn’t fear for their safety.
But she remains hopeful. “Sudanese people are strong and resilient,” she said, “and I believe strongly in the power of education, advocacy and donation – we can use our voices and power to make an impact.”
Dali highlighted the efforts of groups like the Sudanese American Medical Association and Sudanese American Physicians Association, which work with local physicians’ unions to provide needed emergency medical care and supplies to war victims. She also suggested additional actions the UCSF community can take to help, including educating peers, contacting local representatives to call for action, serving as allies at local demonstrations and donating to trusted organizations.
For more information about the conflict in Sudan and ways to support, visit eyesonsudan.net.
Watch the video recording of the teach-in: