Alumna offers nursing skills in the Sudan

Sean Murphy

In a country over 6,000 miles away from the Main Line, a University graduate is aiding the impoverished peoples of the Sudan. College of Nursing alumna Katie Fallon, ’01, is currently on a nine-month mission to Darfur, giving medical attention and aid to those in need.

Since graduating from the University, Fallon has been a nurse at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston. She received a Thomas S. Durant Fellowship for refugee medicine starting last fall that enabled her to work in the Sudan.

Before leaving in October, she wrote a personal statement explaining her reasons for going to this region, “I realized that I not only wanted to help others who are less fortunate than I, but I felt it my responsibility to extend myself beyond my means.”

Her letters describe poverty, chaos and need. She is providing help at her base clinic and also in mobilized medical units to various towns and villages.

In a November letter she wrote, “If I had a team of 10 doctors, 20 nurses, five registrators and an orderly line…then maybe we could see everyone. But as it is I have a team of about five people total.”

Fallon further explains her love of the people of the region and its peoples especially the children, whom she describes as “the cutest kids I have ever seen.”

The worst reports out of the Sudan came last November, when it was reported that over 70,000 people had been killed and a further 2 million forced to flee from their homes.

Tensions between ethnically black Africans and ethnic Arabs boiled over amidst attacks on government targets by groups in the western province of Darfur. These groups, spearheaded by the Sudanese Liberation Army (SLA), claimed that the central government was ignoring the situation of dire poverty in the western region of the country. This sparked backlash from Arab militias, which have resulted in mass genocide.

The United Nations and humanitarian groups have called for help and tried to bring attention to the situation. Former Secretary of State Colin Powell also brought attention to the crisis.

“What is now a happening in Darfur has been going on for 21 years in southern part of the country,” said current University student Philip Akol, a native of the Sudan. “If the United Nations has not come to my [country’s] aide during this 21 years of war in the South, what would make me believe that the United Nations is going to be any help to Darfur?”