The Centre of Excellence in Women and Child Health (CoE WCH) of the Aga Khan University (AKU) was established in 2012 as a university-wide strategy to focus on the health of women and children. Prof. Dr. Zulfiqar A Bhutta was appointed as Founding Director and in 2015, AKU welcomed Prof. Dr. Marleen Temmerman, as the East Africa Director of the Centre to build capacity across the region
The AKU CoE WCH focuses on establishing high quality education, research and training programmes in women, child and adolescent health. It targets population health, clinical, educational and research programmes.
The Centre contributes to research and knowledge management with specific focus on health systems strengthening and quality of care, particularly in remote groups and vulnerable populations. It is involved in evidence-based advocacy and capacity development, impacting on health worker training to serve the needs of the most vulnerable populations in low and middle-income countries.
The CoE WCH is well positioned as an academic knowledge management hub working in collaboration with other regional academic teams.
It builds on an over 100-year engagement of the Aga Khan Development Network (AKDN) in supporting development in East Africa. As part of the AKDN the CoE WCH draws on available capacities and expertise of the University and the AKDN in East Africa and beyond.
In East Africa, the Centre has engagement in Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi and Mozambique. It is instrumental in strengthening the local capacity in research and learning. In its various programmes, the CoE WCH works in collaboration with governments, academia, private sector, development partners, civil society and other stakeholders.
The Monitoring, Evaluation, Research and Learning (MERL) Unit is a project management division of the CoE WCH, based in Nairobi, set up with the objective of supporting knowledge management and implementation research for enhanced quality and effectiveness of data and stakeholder learning. It was established in 2016 with the support of the SickKids Centre for Global Child Health at the University of Toronto. It supports health projects initiated under the CoE WCH.
Its mission is to strengthen health institutions, health systems and public health projects in Africa through data driven research, capacity building and high quality technical expertise in public health monitoring, evaluations and learning.