Suraya Dalil, former Minister of Public Health for Afghanistan

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Read a reflection article by Chelsea Rice. 

Afghanistan: Reflections on My Journey

Wednesday, Nov. 29, 2017

Suraya Dalil is currently the Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary Permanent Representative of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan to the UN and International Organizations based in Geneva, and Ambassador to Switzerland. Dalil studied general medicine at Kabul Medical University, from 1986 to 1991; and obtained a Master’s Degree in Public Health from Harvard University, through a Harvard Presidential Scholarship, in 2005. Dalil was the Minister of Public Health from March 2012 to December 2014 and the Acting Minister of Public Health from January 2010 to February 2012; leading a diverse team to reform health system with improved quality of care and evident impact in child and maternal mortality indicators.

Suraya Dalil’s tenure as Minister is marked with defining government stewardship, results-based financing, and public-private partnership. Dalil worked with UNICEF Somalia as Chief of Health and Nutrition from July 2007 to December 2009 where she led a large-scale nutrition, immunization and communicable disease control program. From 1994 to 2007, she worked with UNICEF Afghanistan in Mazar-e-Sharif, Islamabad, and Kabul; with progressive responsibilities that enabled her to contribute to her country’s health care at a time that Afghanistan faced a very difficult political and socio-economic environment under Taliban regime (1996 to 2001). Dalil participated in the Afghanistan maternal mortality survey carried out 2002 to 2003 by the Ministry of Public Health, Center for Diseases Control and Prevention (CDC) and UNICEF – one of the most important public health studies in Afghanistan’s recent history that was greatly influenced policy decisions and reform agenda for many years. The findings of the survey were published in The Lancet in 2005. Prior to UNICEF, Dalil worked with International Organization for Migration – IOM, from 1993-94; and Médecins Sans Frontières – MSF, from 1992-93, managing health care for returning refugees and emergency response for Tajik refugees in north of Afghanistan, respectively.