Milestones, firsts, awards and achievements –2013–2014 was filled with them. It was a time in which the University took significant steps toward fulfilling its Chancellor’s vision of an institution “on the frontiers of scientific and humanistic knowledge, radiating intelligence and confidence.
Canadian Support Boosts Education
Examination Board Alumni Achieve Success
AKUH in Nairobi Achieves Elite Standard
Patient Welfare Programme Sets Record
Milestone Heart Surgery
Midwives Ready to Aid Mothers, Babies
Free Health Clinics Benefit Thousands
AKU’s Institutes for Educational Development are working to improve education for hundreds of thousands of primary school students in Pakistan and pre-primary and primary school students in East Africa under major grants from the Government of Canada and Aga Khan Foundation Canada.
In Pakistan, the Institute is taking a comprehensive approach that includes training teachers, head teachers, teacher educators, government administrators, parents and community leaders; undertaking research; and working with policymakers to prompt key reforms. Across Sindh and Balochistan provinces, 1,650 schools have been reached, and nearly half of the 14,000 individuals who have received training are women.
In East Africa, the Institute is participating in a similarly wide-ranging project to improve learning in marginalized communities of southern Tanzania, Uganda’s West Nile region and coastal Kenya, together with the Aga Khan Foundation, Aga Khan Education Services and the Aga Khan Academy in Mombasa.
A survey of 1,093 graduates from schools working with AKU’s Examination Board found 82 per cent had been accepted to university. The Board is playing a leading role in improving middle school and secondary school education in Pakistan, by providing learning materials, syllabi, teacher training and year-end certification examinations that reward critical thinking and problem solving.
Graduates have been admittedt o top universities across Pakistan and abroad, including Lahore University of Management Sciences, the University of Toronto, Mount Holyoke College (USA) and Hong Kong University of Science & Technology.
The Aga Khan University Hospital in Nairobi received accreditation by the US-based Joint Commission International, whose seal of approval is considered the gold standard in global health care quality assurance.
It is now one of only two hospitals in sub-Saharan Africa to have earned JCI accreditation, and the only one in East Africa. With both AKUH in Nairobi and AKUH in Karachi having received JCI accreditation, the University has accomplished the rare feat of operating teaching hospitals on two continents that meet the highest international standards of patient safety and quality of care.
JCI’s extensive audit process covers more than 1,200 quality elements, ranging from physician and staff qualifications to infection control, and including facility and equipment safety and maintenance.
AKU is dedicated to the principle that everyone deserves to have access to quality health care, regardless of their income. The University Hospitals’ Patient Welfare Programmes provided a record subsidy to patients unable to pay for treatment in 2014, dispensing US$ 11.4 million.
To date, the programmes have assisted 1.1 million patients with a total of US$ 89.4 million. In many cases, the programmes make the difference between permanent disability and good health, or between life and death.
A team of doctors at the Aga Khan University Hospital’s Heart and Cancer Centre in Nairobi became the first in sub-Saharan Africa outside of South Africa to perform a form of heart surgery that eliminates the need for risky open-heart surgery by approaching the heart via an incision made in the groin.
The procedure – a transcatheter aortic valve implantation – has been described as one of the most important recent advances in cardiovascular care. It allows a patient to return home in a matter of days and is associated with improved survival rates and quality of life for patients for whom an open-heart operation is high risk.
Less than half of mothers in Pakistan deliver their babies with a skilled birth attendant present. In 2014, AKU graduated the first university-trained midwives in Pakistan and the first midwives educated in accordance with the global standards set by the International Confederation of Midwives.
With their Post-RM Bachelor of Science in Midwifery in hand, these women will provide comprehensive, life-saving care from pre-pregnancy to post-delivery, including family planning. Midwives trained to international standards can provide almost 90 per cent of the care that mothers and newborns need, and investing in midwifery education can yield a 16-fold return on investment, making it a primary health care “best buy.”
AKU held more than 140 free community medical clinics attended by more than 30,000 individuals in 2014. Ultrasound scans for pregnant women have provided critical information on fetal health, screening has led to the early detection of breast cancer, deworming for children has helped put them back on the path to healthy development, eye examinations have led to treatment to prevent serious sight impairment and health education has prepared adolescents to navigate one of life’s most difficult periods.