Dr Faizullah Kakar is an Afghan epidemiologist and public leader, serving since June 2019 as the Chief of Staff to President Ashraf Ghani of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan. Three years earlier in 2016, Dr. Kakar was appointed as the Afghan Ambassador to Doha, Qatar where he worked closely with the government to support efforts for peace in Afghanistan. Dr. Kakar has also served as the Deputy Minister of Public Health in two different time periods – 1993-1995 and 2005-2009. He has also been the Afghan Minister for advising the President on Health and Education from 2009-2016 and was the first Presidential Focal Point for Polio Eradication.
Dr Kakar has written and spoken internationally about numerous challenges faced in Afghanistan, including infectious disease epidemics, maternal mortality and the dangers of herbicides used to eradicate poppy.
After his doctorate in Epidemiology, he worked as a Clinical Assistant Professor at the University of Washington and as a Staff Scientist at Cancer Control Research Unit of the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle, Washington.
In 1988, he moved to Peshawar, Pakistan where he founded the Research and Advisory Council of Afghanistan. In 1990, Dr Kakar served as Dean for the College of Medicine, then Vice-Chancellor before serving as Chancellor of Islamic University of Afghanistan in Peshawar, Pakistan. At the University, he developed a course in Conflict Resolution which provided a useful and needed skill to each of the graduates before they returned to Afghanistan.
In 1997, Dr Kakar moved to Islamabad, Pakistan where he was selected by United Nations as the Medical Officer/Epidemiologist for World Health Organization (WHO). Dr Kakar was the first to develop and coin the term "Disease Early Warning System" (DEWS) in Pakistan, which is a surveillance system implemented also in Afghanistan and recognized now throughout the world and has been copied in many countries.
Dr Kakar has a PhD in Epidemiology from the University of Washington, a Masters in Toxicology from the University of Indiana, and a Bachelors in Biology and Social Sciences from Earlham College, Richmond, Indiana, all colleges in the USA.