“Many people only see roads and related infrastructure as development but I am proud to see that the Aga Khan Development Network is playing its role in assisting us to attain the Vision 2030 goals,” said Mr Mugo Kibati, Director General of the Vision 2030 programme that aims to transform Kenya into an industrialised, middle-income country with a high quality of life for all citizens.
He was the chief guest at the 9th convocation ceremony of Aga Khan University (AKU) in Nairobi where degrees were awarded to 15 graduates of the Master of Medicine programme and 29 graduates of the Bachelor of Science in Nursing programme.
AKU Award of Distinction was presented to Professor Yasmin Amarsi, Foundation Dean, School of Nursing and Midwifery. The award is presented to “recognise publicly and to honour outstanding persons who have contributed constructively and consistently to the development of the University.”
In his address, Mr Kibati acknowledged the interest, investment, transparency and high standards set by AKU, part of the Aga Khan Development Network, in the sectors of education and health, and noted that the University Hospital is fast becoming the destination of choice for patients who require tertiary care. In 2011, Aga Khan University Hospital (AKUH) in Nairobi inaugurated the US$ 50 million Heart and Cancer Centre (HCC), which has proven to be a regional asset for treatment and management of chronic heart diseases and cancer.
The HCC is also a part of the AKU Faculty of Health Sciences, the only facility in the region involved in training doctors in the fields of cardiology and oncology. Currently, AKUH in Nairobi is working toward acquiring the US Joint Commission Interantional accreditation, the quality benchmark for hospitals around the world.
Mr Kibati commended AKU’s investment in training of specialist doctors and nurses noting that this, together with the investment in a modern maternity wing, will “impact directly to the realisation of the Millennium Development Goals of reduction of maternal and infant mortality rates by 2015” in Kenya.
Warmly congratulating the graduands, Mr Kibati urged them to be more than just competent nursing professionals and specialist doctors.
“Dear graduands, the education that you have received at AKU has prepared you, I believe, to think beyond your own needs to the needs of the larger society, to realize that your success is embedded in the success of the community and the country… we expect you to be leaders in this country, and therefore trailblazers, innovators and job creators who can help this country achieve Vision 2030,” he said.
Mr Firoz Rasul, President of the University, remarked that the principles of quality, relevance, impact and access were key in the foundation of AKU for over 30 years and continue to guide every aspect of the University's development.
“AKU remains committed to the internal quality assurance initiative of the Inter University Council for East Africa (IUCEA). The University is among the few institutions piloting the self and peer assessment exercise using IUCEA’s framework, called ‘The Roadmap to Quality’, for its nursing programmes in Kenya and Tanzania,” he elaborated.
Mr Rasul also expressed his gratitude to the Kenyan government for their support: “On behalf of AKU and AKDN, I would like to express our appreciation to the Government of Kenya for their ongoing support of our initiatives, which is critical to realising the impact for which we are striving.”
He concluded by congratulating the graduands on their achievement urging them to uphold the principle of quality as they develop and grow in their career: “Graduands, today you have achieved a significant milestone. An education is a long-term investment that you, your family and AKU have made in you.”
The ceremony was attended by vice-chancellors, senior government officials, diplomats, national and international academicians, donors and prominent citizens.
The Medical College in East Africa, part of the Faculty of Health Sciences, is working with the School of Nursing and Midwifery and AKUH in Nairobi to build a new academic community that will provide outstanding health professionals education, build strong programmes of research that support graduate student and postdoctoral training, and provide programmes and services that will be relevant and have an impact on the communities of East Africa. AKU has graduated close to 1800 nurses in East Africa since its inception in 2001. One trained nurse in the rural communities may serve up to 20,000 people, isolated by distance, poverty and lack of access to healthcare and support.
Admission to the programmes is through a need-blind policy where merit is the sole criterion for selection. The education is provided at fees that cover an average only 20 per cent of the cost of their diploma or degree; the balance is subsidised by the University.