The Chancellor of Aga Khan University, His Highness the Aga Khan, today received the 2011 University of California San Francisco Medal, the University’s most prestigious award.
The Medal, established in 1975, replaces the granting of honorary degrees, and recognises outstanding personal contributions in areas associated with the University’s fourfold health science mission, such as attracting and educating the nation’s most promising students for future careers in the health sciences and health care professions, providing top-quality patient care, improving the understanding of the factors that affect human health and serving the community.
In November 2009, AKU and UCSF signed a Memorandum of Understanding to develop a strong long-term partnership with the objective of improving the quality, access, and integration of health care for promoting equitable human advancement and social justice in the less privileged parts of the world.
The agreement focuses on cooperation on primary health care model across East Africa and Asia, with the goal of reducing maternal, newborn and child mortality. Over time, the partnership will expand to include new areas such as neurosciences and stem cell research.
Since early 2010, AKU and UCSF have begun strategising on an integrated primary health care model (IPHCM) that would train health professionals, especially at the primary healthcare level, in family medicine, nursing and midwifery. A test site has been selected in Kenya’s Coast province and an exploratory visit to set up a corresponding pilot study in northern Pakistan, is planned for this year. Research around this model will aim to assess the impact of training against pre-agreed health outcomes.
For both AKU and UCSF, the broader partnership brings together many cross cutting areas of interest including research, policy and practice, student and faculty exchanges, and human resource development through formal education programmes and capacity building.
AKU’s Department of Family Medicine and the Aga Khan Health Service programme in East Africa have been working with UCSF’s Global Health Sciences programme since 2006.
A number of UCSF residents and visiting faculty helped AKU develop training modules for HIV/AIDs and seminars on a number of topics relevant to family medicine. In midwifery, UCSF has been collaborating with AKU’s School of Nursing and Midwifery to develop a midwifery programme. UCSF has provided ongoing technical assistance on module development, specialty course development, evaluation and monitoring, and faculty development for the programme.