The Aga Khan University inaugurated the Jenabai Hussainali Shariff Building on its sprawling 84-acre Stadium Road campus in the hub of Karachi today.
Located right next to the main Hospital entrance to the campus, the five-floor, approximately 132,000-square-foot JHS Building - part of an ambitious expansion plan that envisages a series of ambulatory care buildings along the southern end of the campus - will allow the University Hospital to significantly expand the health care services it offers. The building will house outpatient clinics providing medical, same-day surgery and chemotherapy services.
The building was constructed over a two-year period starting October 2010 with generous donations cumulating to US$ 14.5 million from individuals and donor groups in Karachi and abroad, and from the hospital's own contribution.
“This building signals the beginning of an exciting phase of our development plans in Pakistan,” said Mr Firoz Rasul, President, AKU. “It is a visible statement of our ongoing commitment to invest in the country and to improve access to quality healthcare.
“In the last decade, the number of outpatient visitors to the Hospital has almost doubled, with over half a million visiting last year alone,” he explained. “The new building with the latest equipment allows us to expand access, reduce waiting times and offer our patients world class medical services.
”The JHS Building is designed to meet the demand for services with more than 90 examination rooms, plus faculty offices, seminar rooms, assessment and procedure rooms, audiometry booths and testing rooms, medical record rooms, reception areas and a coffee shop.
Ambulatory care services will be available in 11 medical and surgical specialties, including anaesthesia and pain management, dentistry, dermatology, ENT, gastroenterology, nephrology, oncology, ophthalmology, psychiatry, surgery, urology.
“Its proximity to the entrance will offer patients easy access to the clinics, and will reduce outpatient movement within the main University Hospital complex. This is consistent with our drive to strengthen the effectiveness and efficiency of the University Hospital's internal operations,” Dr Nadeem Ahmad, Chief Operating Officer, AKUH commented.
An expanded surgical day care unit provides treatment to patients requiring minor eye, ENT and orthopedic surgery. Outpatient cancer services are also available and more will be added in the future as spaces between the existing oncology centre, the Ibn Zuhr Building, and the new JHS Building will be equipped with new high-end equipment.
In line with tradition, the building has been constructed using local materials – its floors and walls tiled with red marble from Nowshera, and the outer walls surfaced with a 'weeping' plaster applied by hand by local artisans.
The JHS Building’s design, furniture and artwork have all been chosen to provide a calm and comforting environment for visiting patients. Recognising that a pleasant ambience has an impact on patient health, a courtyard with water features has been added on the second floor and skylights in the basement so that maximum natural light can filter through.
The inaugural ceremony on Saturday was attended by civic leaders, high-profile guests and donors, and members of the staff.