Apr 1, 2022
Dr. Mohammad Haqmal, is the former Chief of Public Health for Afghanistan, where he developed a series of groundbreaking programs and has received the Afghanistan National Public Hero Award – twice. He is a medical doctor by training and also holds master’s degrees in Business Administration, Public Health, and Global Health. Before all this, he and his mother had to flee Afghanistan when he was five to live in a refugee camp in Pakistan; they were the only two of his family who survived the attack and managed to escape.
Currently he is a lecturer at the University of London, and at the time of our conversation was in the process of joining the faculty of the University of Cambridge. He’s also involved in a number of research projects based in the UK, he serves as a columnist at Arab News, and he has a forthcoming new book.
Dr. Haqmal shared his experiences as the Chief of Public Health and many innovative projects that were inclusive, community-based, respectful of the beliefs of those cared for, and were empirically based. We did cover public health and humanitarian aid issues under the Taliban rule. In fact, we discussed a recent article he coauthored and published in the Lancet on urgent health and humanitarian needs of the Afghan population under the Taliban, and what spurred him and his colleagues to write it.
Dr. Haqmal has been through much adversity, and nevertheless has chosen to live his life in full by helping others, often at great risk to himself, and the result is to have made a true difference in the world.