GENDER The Resilience of Women in Sudan


An interview with Sudanese physician Sarah Khalifa

Long shifts and brutal hours are to be expected for most young doctors. But for Sarah Khalifa, 31, weariness stems from a different place altogether: deep concern for Sudan, a country where she was raised and studied medicine. A military coup that toppled the transitional government of Sudan occurred several weeks ago and is taking a toll on a population already under deep duress.

Khalifa was born in Egypt and raised between Oman and Sudan. She graduated with a bachelor’s degree in medicine and surgery from the University of Medical Sciences and Technology in Khartoum, the capital of Sudan. Khalifa left the country at the end of 2019 to pursue her internal medicine training in Ireland, but she has been back to Sudan several times and plans to return again in December.  

As a doctor and activist, she has seen firsthand what’s at stake for Sudanese people, and she is especially concerned for its women. It’s a country where men are the traditional decision makers and child marriage and gender-based violence are the norm; where women have crushing domestic responsibilities and often lack the skills and access to economic opportunities that could better their lives. In an interview conducted by author and activist Karen Sherman for Think Global Health, Khalifa spoke of the prospect of a different future for Sudanese women.

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