The President’s Review​

June 2022​







June 2022 | Inaugural Edition









President’s Message












As this newsletter demonstrates, the last few months have been an exceptionally eventful period in the life of AKU. We have been ranked among the world’s top universities. Our faculty and staff have won prestigious international awards. We have launched collaborations with local governments, leading international organizations and top global universities. Our researchers are breaking new ground and we are building capacity with innovative new programmes. And AKU’s environmental initiatives are helping to galvanize efforts to address climate change.


I am proud of what all of us are achieving together – faculty, staff, students, alumni, donors, volunteers and partners. Our work is certainly not easy. As our Chancellor, His Highness the Aga Khan, was fond of saying in AKU’s early years, building a university is not like making instant coffee. You don’t just add water and stir. It is a journey. But it is a journey that is profoundly meaningful and deeply consequential.


I look forward to updating you on the countless ways AKU is making a difference via regular editions of this newsletter. Please feel free to share it widely.









Accreditation & Awards












Ranked Among the Best

AKU was ranked among the top 20 universities in the world in public, environmental and occupational health by U.S. News & World Report, putting it ahead of Yale University and many other renowned institutions. The same publication also ranked AKU among the top 100 universities in Asia overall and the top 500 universities in the world overall.






CAP Reaccreditation

The clinical laboratories of the Aga Khan University Hospital, Karachi were reaccredited by the College of American Pathologists. Doctors’ diagnoses and treatment decisions depend on accurate laboratory results. CAP accreditation confirms that AKUH’s laboratories meet the highest standards of quality. AKUH has the only CAP-accredited clinical laboratories in Pakistan. Read More






AHA Reaccreditation

Following an on-site audit, the Nursing Education Services at the Aga Khan University Hospital, Karachi were reaccredited as an International Training Centre by the American Heart Association. “The reaccreditation is a testament to our commitment to training our nurses and physicians with the latest cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) procedures and techniques,” Chief Nursing Officer Khairunnissa Hooda said. Read More









Research & Innovation












Alzheimer’s in Africa

The Brain and Mind Institute and Department of Community Health Sciences are partnering with the Davos Alzheimer’s Collaborative to address the lack of data on Alzheimer’s outside of wealthy countries and prepare the ground for future research and clinical trials of new Alzheimer’s treatments. The project will collect biological samples and conduct cognitive assessments of participants in Kenya (and later in Uganda and Tanzania), with the goal of identifying biomarkers of Alzheimer’s disease. Read More






New Books from ISMC

Faculty at the Institute for the Study of Muslim Civilisations in London published three new books. What is Islamic Studies?, edited by ISMC Dean Leif Stenberg and Professor Philip Wood, explores the evolution of the field and differing European and North American approaches to it. Dean Stenberg also published Poet and Businessman, which illuminates both the life of Abd al-Aziz al-Babtain and the history of modern Kuwait. Associate Professor Sevgi Adak’s Anti-Veiling Campaigns in Turkey reveals the diverse ways in which women responded to efforts to prohibit veiling in the interwar period.






Analyzing an Aging Continent

The percentage of Africans who are over 60 years old is expected to nearly triple by 2050. AKU and the University of Michigan are laying the groundwork for a large-scale study in Kenya that will follow thousands of individuals as they age, under a new grant from the U.S. National Institutes of Health. The study would be the first of its kind in Sub-Saharan Africa outside of South Africa. Read More






Injectable HIV Treatment

AKU is contributing to the first clinical trial of an injectable HIV treatment to be conducted in East Africa. The injections are given every two months, eliminating the need to take pills daily. Read More






New Lancet Series

A high-profile new Lancet Series calling for a comprehensive approach to improving child and adolescent health and development was coordinated by Professor Zulfiqar Bhutta. The four papers in the Series are the work of dozens of leading specialists around the world, including Dr Bhutta and several other AKU experts. WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus and UNICEF Executive Director Catherine Russell published a two-page Comment as part of the Series. Read More






COVID-19 and Diabetes

Almost half of all COVID-19 patients admitted to the Aga Khan University Hospital, Nairobi had diabetes and nearly 40 percent had hypertension, according to a study that is among the first of its kind from Kenya. Given the high mortality rates for patients with these co-morbidities, the authors recommend routine testing for diabetes and regular blood pressure monitoring for all patients admitted with COVID-19. Read More






Family Planning in Rural Sindh

Supported by funding from the Canadian government, researchers are working to increase access to family planning services through public and private health facilities and Lady Health Workers in rural Sindh. Just 25 percent of Pakistani women report using modern contraceptives. “Pakistan needs institutions like AKU, which is a role model for health care and academic excellence,” said Canada’s High Commissioner to Pakistan Wendy Gilmour after touring project sites. Read More





















Green Building Certification

The new University Centre in Nairobi received EDGE Advanced certification, meaning that it uses at least 40 percent less energy than other newly constructed buildings in the area. The 23-story, 37,500-square-metre facility is one of the largest investments in higher education in Kenya’s recent history. Read More






Students to Join Climate Fight

President Sulaiman Shahabuddin launched the inaugural President’s Challenge for Climate Solutions, an annual competition to encourage students on all campuses to reduce their carbon footprint and contribute to the fight against climate change. President Shahabuddin detailed AKU’s plans to become carbon neutral by 2030 in an interview with The News.






1,000 Solar Panels

Installation of 1,000 solar panels on the Stadium Road campus was completed. The panels are expected to reduce AKU’s emissions by 365 tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2e) per year – the amount consumed by driving from Karachi to Islamabad 1,000 times, or from Nairobi to Dar es Salaam 1,800 times. They are expected to save enough energy to pay for themselves within five years.






AKU in the NYT

An article in The New York Times on the effects of extreme heat on human health discussed a study by AKU researcher Adelaide M. Lusambili, who is investigating heat’s effects on pregnant women and newborns in coastal Kenya. Read More






Voices from the Roof of the World

Voices from the Roof of the World was named an Official Selection of the Berlin TV Series Festival. A joint project of AKU and fellow AKDN agencies, the 10-part series of half-hour documentaries explores the challenges facing the mountainous region stretching from Nepal to Kyrgyzstan in the era of climate change. Watch the Series









Faculty Awards & Recognition












Professor Marleen Temmerman was elected to the prestigious American Academy of Arts and Sciences. A renowned OBGYN and researcher who is Director of the Centre of Excellence in Women and Child Health, East Africa, Dr Temmerman was one of just nine individuals elected to the Academy in the medical sciences category. Read More






Professor Zulfiqar Bhutta was ranked among the top 100 researchers in medicine globally by He was the only researcher from a lower-income country to make the list. Dr Bhutta also received Canada’s prestigious Gairdner Award, whose recipients include multiple Nobel Prize winners.






Wais Mohammad Qarani was selected as one of 10 finalists for Aster DM Healthcare’s Global Nursing Award. He is an alumnus of the School of Nursing and Midwifery, Pakistan and a nurse at the AKU-managed French Medical Institute for Mothers and Children in Kabul. Read More






Assistant Professor Zohra Kurji received the Frontline Simulation Champion Excellence Award from the International Nursing Association of Clinical Simulation and Learning. The award recognizes her success in implementing outstanding simulation-based learning opportunities for AKU nursing students. Read More






Assistant Professor Angela Migowa, one of the only paediatric rheumatologists in East Africa, was profiled in The Lancet, one of the world’s leading medical journals. It is crucial to change “the perception that children don’t get arthritis, that this is a disease of the old,” said Dr Migowa, the National Vice Chair of the Kenya Paediatric Association. Read More









Building Capacity












Women in Science

In partnership with the University of Oxford, the Institute for Global Health and Development launched Supporting Women in Science, a programme to support early-career female academics in conducting cutting-edge research in maternal and child health and related fields. Read More






FMIC Residents Graduate

In a further demonstration of the extraordinary dedication of the staff at the AKU-managed French Medical Institute for Mothers and Children, two women and five men celebrated the completion of their residencies. FMIC has now trained 74 specialist physicians, including the first locally trained women specialists in pathology, radiology, anaesthesia and paediatric surgery. The graduation ceremony was attended by Afghanistan’s Acting Minister of Public Health. Read More






CPR in Pakistan

The AKU-led Pakistan Life Savers Programme has trained nearly 100,000 young people, first-responders and ordinary citizens in bleeding control and cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR). The programme aims to train 10 million Pakistanis in basic life-saving skills over 10 years.






New MS in Public Health

The Medical College, Pakistan launched its Master of Science in Public Health to develop much-needed public-health leaders. Learn more and watch Professor Sameen Siddiqi discuss the programme in a video here.






Online Nephrology Certificate

To help make up for the lack of nephrology specialists in Pakistan, the Aga Khan University Hospital, Karachi launched an online certificate course to train physicians in caring for patients with early kidney disease. The first edition of the course was extremely popular, attracting 350 participants. Doctors can now complete sessions online whenever they wish.






Supporting Thatta

The Department of Community Health Sciences donated $15,000 in medical equipment and essential supplies to rural health centers in Thatta. CHS has been working to strengthen Thatta's health system for the last three years.









Improving Education












The Case for Teaching Licensure

The Institute for Educational Development, Pakistan published a 69-page white paper that makes the case for requiring teachers to obtain a license prior to joining the profession. The paper argues that a well-designed licensing system can play an important role in improving the quality of teaching in Pakistan’s schools.






Encouraging Reading in Tanzania

The Institute for Educational Development, East Africa expanded its efforts to encourage young children to read for pleasure to the Manyara region of Tanzania. IED, EA has so far donated 30,000 books to 91 schools in Tanzania as part of its Reading Clubs project. Read More















New Surgery Chair

AKU alumnus Dr Saleem Islam (MBBS 1992) will return to his alma mater from the University of Florida to become the Quaid-e-Azam Professor and Chair of the Department of Surgery, effective September 15. Dr Islam is Professor of Surgery and Pediatrics and Director of Pediatric Minimally Invasive Surgery at the University of Florida’s College of Medicine, as well as Program Director of the Paediatric Surgery Fellowship Program.









Partnership & Collaboration












Collaborating for SRHR

AKU is now a World Health Organization collaborating centre on sexual and reproductive health and rights. It will be working with the WHO and other institutions in Pakistan and the wider Eastern Mediterranean Region to conduct research and build capacity to improve sexual and reproductive health and rights. Read More






Immunization in Sindh

AKU and the Sindh Department of Health will be working together to increase immunization rates in eight union councils of Karachi by making it possible for children to get vaccinated at private health clinics. Many residents rely on private clinics for their health needs, but such clinics do not offer immunization services. Read More






President Hosts Diplomats

In addition to meeting with Canada’s High Commissioner to Pakistan, President Shahabuddin discussed AKU’s work with Swiss Ambassador to Pakistan and Afghanistan Bénédict de Cerjat and with diplomats from a dozen countries whom he hosted at a dinner in Karachi.





















The University celebrated the 25th anniversary of the Rufayda Al-Aslamiya Building at the School of Nursing and Midwifery in Pakistan. The building, which houses an array of academic facilities, was funded by a gift from brothers Alauddin Feerasta and the late Badruddin Feerasta. It was named after the first Muslim nurse. Read More









Did You See…
























Did You Know…






AKU received $90 million in research grants in 2021, a new record, and 10 times the amount received in 2011.
























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