Raaho Samantar – Medical Research in Sudan

My name is Raaho Samantar, I am 25 years and I am currently following a double master’s in medicine and global health. As part of my global health master I went to Khartoum, Sudan for seven months. This exciting and rewarding journey was made possible by the support of Lutfia Rabbani Foundation.

Sudan has often been portrayed as a dangerous and troubled place in the media, I want to start off by saying that Sudan turned out to be the most hospitable and friendly place I have ever visited. There is no denying of the unprecedented warmness that exudes from the locals on a day to day basis, indeed every visitor in Sudan inevitably has this remark to make even on social media.

The season of Ramadan is no different, food, laughter and prayers were shared in a heartfelt manner. I spent many evenings with friends on the gorgeous Nile river. The Nile river comprises of the White and Blue Nile; it runs through eleven countries and is commonly referred to as the longest river in the world sometimes with one objection. With a breath-taking view, the Nile river intersects in Khartoum. So many stories were shared, memories were made over a cup of the famous Sudanese tea in the evenings.


My little story only gets better. On a mini road trip with friends, we travelled to where the famous and ancient city of Meroe was located. We were amazed at the beauty of pyramids that marked ancient civilizations. We camped right under beautiful stars and exchanged personal and historical stories. For instance, I learnt that Sudan has even more pyramids than Egypt and heard the story about a spectacular ancient building that was dug out of the ground only a few years ago.

Invigorated by the warm hospitality, work and building a better society felt lighter. During my time in Sudan I dedicated my time to develop myself in different areas. Together with passionate local students, we studied hard for courses in public health in emergency settings, gender and humanitarian aid to mention a few. We also shared experiences and insights towards solving local problems around these issues.
The most beautiful memory was giving a training to empower students and raising awareness about Female Genital Mutilation (FGM). The training included discussing how to handle some real-life situations with FGM and I was very surprised with the solutions the students came up with. With this training both the students and me gained new insights on how to deal with FGM. 

Furthermore, I took on an internship in the Infectious Disease department at the World Health Organisation. It was a humble opportunity to learn first-hand, the inner workings of INGOs that strive every moment to make our world a better place. I must remark that it was simply a privilege to be mentored by the supervisor I had – Dr. Hardan Ismael Ahmed. He is a great leader, a technically savvy consultant, kind-hearted with impeccable character. He set the bar high and I am forever inspired to be the best I can be and be of Value.

Additionally, I worked with a gynaecologist on research about the treatment of a disease that can occur during pregnancy called preeclampsia. This enabled me to spent a lot of time with doctors and nurses in Soba Hospital and Maternity Hospital Omdurman. I developed great respect and admiration for the hardworking doctors and nurses, who are doing so much for patients while having little resources to work with.
With all of the hard work and value created, came joy. I think back about Sudan and It was a priceless experience. As the famous saying goes, I am not the same having seen the sun set on the other side of the world. I desire to go back, relive it, create more value and make even better memories. I will end by modifying the Chinese proverb: Thank you for reading my story, even better GO SEE.