Dr. Maihan Abdullah

2023–2024 Takemi Fellow

Maihan Abdullah (Afghanistan), PhD, completed his medical school in Afghanistan at Kandahar University in 2006. He started general surgery residency in 2007 in one of the teaching hospitals in Kabul. During his residency program, he realized the social, political, and economic determinants of health as well as the barriers to seeking healthcare among Afghans, especially among his patients. He decided to address these issues through public health. He studied health promotion and policy (MPH) between 2011 and 2013 at the University of Missouri-Columbia on a Fulbright scholarship. After completing his master’s degree, he returned to Afghanistan and started advocating for cancer prevention and control in view of lack of cancer prevention and insufficient cancer control activities in the country. He founded Afghanistan Cancer Foundation (ACF) to advocate for cancer prevention and control.  As a result of successful advocacy efforts, Dr. Maihan established the Cancer Diagnosis and Treatment Project within the Ministry of Public Health in 2016 opening the first cancer center in the country. Subsequently, he established Afghanistan’s National Cancer Control Program (NCCP) in 2017 headed it till 2020.

Dr. Maihan is passionate about cancer prevention and control in Afghanistan and in other low-income and conflict affected countries. Considering the fact that there is limited research about cancer in Afghanistan, he will be working on country’s cancer research during the Takemi Fellowship. He hopes to highlight the cancer health disparity in low-income and conflicted affected countries such as in Afghanistan.

“Inequity exits in cancer prevention and control, especially in low-income and conflict affected communities and settings. Donor agencies and implementing organizations need to urgently address this issue regardless of any type of affiliations. I hope to highlight this issue through my work and research.”