Uganda and other EAC countries must leverage the opportunities across the region to generate creative solutions to increase access of people in rural and urban areas to high quality education and healthcare. The Honourable Dr Richard Nduhura, Minister of State for Health (General Duties) delivered this message at the ninth Aga Khan University (AKU) Convocation ceremony held in Kampala with 16 students graduating with Bachelor of Science in Nursing.
Commenting on the issue of increasing access to quality education and healthcare in East Africa, Hon Dr Nduhura noted, “Only if we can meet the demand for intellectual and economic fulfilment, will we retain bright young minds... and be able to stem the brain drain from this region.” He also emphasised the importance of limiting the financial burden of students through bursaries and loan programmes.
Honourable Dr Nduhura concluded by thanking the Aga Khan Development Network for the role they have played in development from the establishment of schools, hospitals and health clinics and noted, “these initiatives have improved the wellbeing of Ugandans by helping to raise school participation and literacy rates, lower child and maternal mortality rates, and improve quality of life indicators”.
Mr. Firoz Rasul, President AKU, in his address, emphasised the role of universities in region-building. He said, “Our vision at the Aga Khan University is to create a regional university in East Africa for East Africa, where talented students from across the region receive an international standard education on any AKU campus in the EAC. Our goal is to develop human talent; to develop knowledge, to instil aptitudes and attitudes that create resilience to withstand adversity and an entrepreneurial spirit to create businesses and jobs; to cultivate the thought-leaders and innovators who can examine the challenges from an East African perspective and imagine unconventional solutions.”
Mr. Rasul concluded by warmly congratulating the graduands on their achievement urging them to choose to stay in Tanzania and help solve socio-economic challenges in the region.
The colourful ceremony, presided over by Ambassador Saidullah Khan Dehlavi, Chairman AKU Board of Trustees and Mr. Firoz Rasul was attended by vice-chancellors, senior government officials, diplomats, national and international academicians, donors and prominent citizens.