The President’s Review​

October 2022​​

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October 2022









President’s Message












Click the link above to watch President Shahabuddin discuss AKU’s flood relief efforts. To see AKU in action, watch this video. For additional information, see our news releases here. As of 11th October, AKU staff have provided health care to more than 300,000 individuals in flood-affected communities and distributed medications and supplies worth Rs 143 million ($635,000).









Visit to Canada






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Canada Visit Strengthens Ties

I am very grateful to have had the opportunity to participate in events last month in Canada that acknowledged the work of His Highness the Aga Khan, our Chancellor, to improve the quality of life of all people regardless of their origins or background. Marking 50 years since the establishment of the Ismaili community in Canada, Prince Amyn, Prince Rahim and Princess Zahra represented His Highness at the signing of the agreement of cooperation between the Ismaili Imamat and British Columbia, the award to His Highness of the symbolic key to the City of Toronto and inauguration of the Diwan Pavilion at the Aga Khan Garden in Edmonton.


A spectacular example of landscape design that is believed to be the northernmost Islamic garden in the world, the Aga Khan Garden demonstrates the contemporary relevance of the Islamic design heritage and its ability to speak to cultures around the world. It was developed through a generous gift of more than $25 million by His Highness to the University of Alberta and is a symbol of the University’s ongoing partnership with AKU and the AKDN.


At the inauguration, University of Alberta president Bill Flanagan remarked that, ‘…University of Alberta is enormously grateful for the collaboration with the Aga Khan Development Network, and specifically the Aga Khan University, with whom we share a commitment to education, research, and cultural understanding.’ 









Research and Innovation






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Top 300 in Medical Research

AKU is one of only six universities in Africa and South Asia currently ranked among the world’s top 300 universities in medical research in the NTU Rankings, which are published by National Taiwan University. The rankings assess universities based on research productivity, impact and excellence. Read More






Groundbreaking Breast Cancer Study

An AKU study – the first of its kind in Pakistan – revealed a high rate of hereditary breast cancer, and highlighted the importance of multi-gene testing for mutations in breast cancer associated genes. With its dedicated hereditary breast cancer clinic, the Aga Khan University Hospital, Karachi is one of the only hospitals in Pakistan able to offer such multi-gene testing. (Meanwhile, Assistant Professor Miriam Mutebi was interviewed by the World Health Organization on the obstacles to obtaining breast cancer care in Africa.) Read More






Major Math and Science Study

AKU’s Institute for Educational Development, Pakistan will study the math and science performance of 6,000 students in 70 schools run by The Citizens Foundation, which operates one of the country’s largest private school systems. The study will also assess teachers’ pedagogy and its affect on student learning, helping the Foundation to develop programmes to improve teaching and learning in its schools. Read More






Media Innovators Graduate

Marking the completion of their term as Innovators-in-Residence at AKU’s Media Innovation Centre, three East African startups pitched their businesses to prospective investors at an event in Uganda. The startups focus on virtual reality storytelling, feminist content creation and telling the stories of minorities. Read More









Supporting the Public Sector












$8 Million for COVID-19 Vaccination

More East Africans will get access to COVID-19 vaccination thanks to a US$ 8 million grant from the Government of Germany. The funding will allow the Aga Khan University Hospital, Nairobi and the Aga Khan Health Services, East Africa to purchase mobile “clinics-on-wheels” to bring vaccinators to communities. Mobile clinics will also be donated to the governments of Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. A portion of the grant will fund efforts to educate people on the vaccines and encourage them to get vaccinated. Read More






Better Health Through Public-Private Partnerships?

In Dawn, Professor Shehla Zaidi provided an extensive analysis of Pakistan’s experience with contracting NGOs to run public health facilities. She dubbed the results “a promising glass half full” and called for “a more holistic approach in order to ensure accessible and affordable healthcare for all.” Read More






Mobile App Wins Award

A mobile application developed by AKU and utilized by nearly 500 government community health workers (LHWs) and vaccinators in rural Gilgit-Baltistan and Chitral was named a top digital innovation in maternal and neonatal health at the international Commonwealth Digital Health Awards. As they visit households, workers use the app, called Hayat, to record details of the services they deliver. The data can then be tracked, analyzed and used for decision-making by supervisors. Read More






Aiding Polio Eradication Efforts

With polio yet to be eradicated in Pakistan, AKU will be working with government to increase immunization against the disease in two union councils – one in Karachi and one in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa – with especially low vaccination rates. The University’s polio work received a mention in The New York TimesRead More






Leadership for Learning

AKU’s Institute for Educational Development, East Africa is partnering with government agencies in Tanzania, Kenya and Uganda to train head teachers to improve learning in their schools. Ninety head teachers will complete a part-time, two-year Diploma in Educational Leadership and Management. Courses for head teachers in the region typically emphasize administrative skills rather than leadership for learning. The Institute hopes its approach will prove influential. 









Faculty News and Honors






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FAS Dean Announced

AKU’s newest academic entity, the Faculty of Arts and Sciences in Karachi, will be led by Professor Stephen Lyon of AKU’s Institute for the Study of Muslim Civilisations. Dean Lyon is an anthropologist who has written and edited five books on Pakistan. “FAS has the potential to make the world a better place for all of us, by harnessing the creativity, scholarship and power of people in a unique institution,” he wrote. Read More






National Leadership Role for SONAM, EA Dean

Dean Eunice Ndirangu-Mugo was appointed to a second term as Chair of the Nursing Council of Kenya, which regulates the country’s nursing and midwifery professions. The Council’s achievements in her first term include the development of scopes of practice for various nursing specializations, including advanced practice nursing and advanced practice midwifery; implementation of online licensure examinations; and the launch of Kenya’s first national nursing and midwifery policy. Read More






A First for Nurses in Pakistan

Dean Rozina Karmaliani became the first Pakistan-based nurse to be named a Fellow of the American Academy of Nursing, one of the highest honors in the nursing profession. “I don’t consider this an individual achievement,” Dean Karmaliani said. “It’s an AKU achievement.” Read More






Kenyan Faculty Receive National Honor

President Uhuru Kenyatta awarded the title “Moran of the Order of the Burning Spear,” one of Kenya’s highest honors, to three faculty members. Professor Lukoye Atwoli is a prominent mental health researcher and Dean of the Medical College, East Africa. Assistant Professor Jeilan Mohamed is an interventional cardiologist who has introduced new techniques to the country. Dr Bashir Admani is a pioneering paediatric nephrologist in Kenya. Read More






Tamgha-e-Imtiaz for AKU Researcher

Associate Professor Farah Qamar was named a recipient of the Government of Pakistan’s Tamgha-e-Imtiaz (Medal of Excellence). An AKU alumna, she is a specialist in paediatric infectious diseases who has published extensively on typhoid (and was recently cited in a story on extensively drug-resistant typhoid on National Public Radio in the United States). More than two dozen AKU faculty members have received Pakistan civil awards in the last three decades.









Advancing the Study of Islam and Muslim Cultures












Exhibition Explores Football and Faith 

AKU’s Institute for the Study of Muslim Civilisations launched its multimedia exhibition Football and Religion: Tales of Hope, Passion and Play at the Aga Khan Centre in London. It explores the connection between faith and football in the lives of individuals around the world, as well as the sport’s ability to elevate marginalized voices. The exhibition is free, open to the public and runs through 4 December. Read More






Teaching About Islam in the UK

An online two-day conference aimed at enhancing the quality of teaching about Islam in mainstream secondary schools in the United Kingdom was organized by the Institute for the Study of Muslim Civilisations and the Ismaili Tariqah and Religious Education Board for the UK. More than two dozen academics and educators from a half-dozen countries delivered presentations.






Digitization Project Awarded $1.75 Million Grant

The Institute for the Study of Muslim Civilisations will continue to contribute to efforts to digitize thousands of Persian and Arabic texts and render them accessible to computational analysis. ISMC Professor Sarah Bowen Savant is part of a team of researchers from four universities whose work will be supported by a US$ 1.75 million grant from the Mellon Foundation to the University of Maryland. The team will also be working to develop software that can digitize Ottoman Turkish, Urdu and handwritten texts. Read More









Awards and Recognition 






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AKUH, Nairobi Reaccredited by JCI and CAP

The Aga Khan University Hospital, Nairobi was accredited for the fourth time by the US-based Joint Commission International. Its clinical laboratory was accredited for the second time by the US-based College of American Pathologists. Accreditation, in the Commission’s words, “is a signal to patients that a health care organization has undergone an exacting performance assessment and met a robust series of qualifications in patient safety and quality of care.” The Hospital is one of only two JCI-accredited hospitals in Kenya and is the only hospital in the country with JCI-accredited programmes in heart attack and stroke care. It operates the only CAP-accredited hospital clinical laboratory in Kenya. Read more here and here.






Secondary Hospitals Recertified

The Aga Khan University Hospital, Pakistan’s four secondary hospitals for women and children earned ISO 9001:2015 recertification with no major or minor non-conformities observed, a strong testament to their adherence to international quality standards. The hospitals – three in Karachi and one in Hyderabad – care for more than 450,000 patients annually. Approximately 13,000 women delivered their babies at the hospitals last year. Read More






Internal Medicine Programme Accredited

The Internal Medicine residency programme in Nairobi became the first in Africa to be accredited by the US-based Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education International. Five AKU residency programmes in Pakistan were previously accredited by the Council – all of which were firsts for the country. AKU’s Postgraduate Medical Education departments as a whole, in both East Africa and Pakistan, were recently accredited by the Council – another first in both regions. Read More






Teaching and Learning Programme Reaccredited

In recognition of its efforts to improve teaching and learning within the University through its Network of Quality, Teaching and Learning, AKU was reaccredited by AdvanceHE, a UK-based organization devoted to improving university education. Accreditation allows AKU to designate qualified faculty members whose teaching meets international standards as HEA Fellows. The University remains the only institution in Pakistan or East Africa accredited by AdvanceHE. Read More






Honors for the Medical Curriculum

The Medical College, Pakistan was the sole institution honored with an award in the curriculum development category by the Association for Medical Education in Europe this year. While university rankings are heavily based on research, the Association’s awards programme recognizes excellence in teaching and learning. Read More






ISO Certification for Two Departments

Both the Nutrition and Food Services Department and the Project and Construction Management Division in Karachi earned ISO certification. Read more here and here. 









Expanding in East Africa






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A new campus begins in Uganda

Construction is underway at AKU’s new campus in Kampala. Located in Nakawa on a 60-acre site, it will feature an academic building, student housing and the Aga Khan University Hospital, Kampala, which will have 100 beds in its first phase. Construction has started on the 12,000-square-metre, seven-floor academic building and 6,000 square-metre, nine-floor student housing building. Construction on the Hospital is expected to commence in the first quarter of 2024.









Did You See…






Four newly renovated operating rooms were inaugurated at the Aga Khan University Hospital, Karachi.






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Did You Know…






Girls were almost two-thirds of the top performers on the AKU Examination Board’s annual exams.


AKU physicians have provided teleconsultations to intensive-care doctors in 80 government and private health facilities in Pakistan, helping them to care for more than 1,300 critically ill patients. The Tele-ICU Project was launched in April 2020 and makes AKU experts available 24 hours a day to advise ICU doctors at other facilities.













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