​Award of Distinction

Dr Zulfiqar Ahmed Bhutta

Each year the University Awards Committee considers nominations for the Award of Distinction.  This award is presented to “recognize publically and to honour outstanding persons who have contributed constructively and consistently to the development of the University.”  

This year, the University has the honour of presenting the Award of Distinction to Dr Zulifiqar Ahmed Bhutta.

The international health community, policy makers, and the villagers in interior Sindh as well as other parts of Pakistan, who have benefited from or impacted by his work, know Dr Zulfiqar Bhutta as the researcher and thinker who has worked at the grassroots level in disadvantaged parts of Pakistan to identify simple solutions to daunting challenges in child health and survival in this country and across the developing world. He has intertwined community service delivery with sound research to identify the best strategies and interventions for improved child health and mortality outcomes. His research has received international acclaim in the areas of community based perinatal care, interaction of nutrition and infections, child diarrhea, micronutrient malnutrition, and maternal and child health policy. He heads several research teams working on issues of maternal, newborn and child survival and nutrition globally and regionally.  

As a scientist, Dr. Bhutta has worked beyond exploring new knowledge to its practical application. He engages policy makers in the developing world, and the international public health community to understand the evidence behind health issues and to arm them with concrete strategies that can be applied to improve maternal and child health in their jurisdictions.

Dr. Bhutta comes from a family of physicians and educationists.  He completed his undergraduate medical studies at the Khyber Medical College, University of Peshawar and obtained his PhD from the Karolinska Institute in Sweden. He is a Fellow of the Royal College of Physicians (Edinburgh), the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health (London), American Academy of Pediatrics and the Pakistan Academy of Sciences.

His contributions to child health in Pakistan and at an international level have earned him several awards, including the Tamgha-i-Imtiaz for his contributions towards education and research, the President of Pakistan Gold Medal for contributions to Child Health in Pakistan and the Outstanding Paediatrician of Asia award by the Asia Pacific Pediatric Association. In 2009, Dr. Bhutta was awarded the inaugural Global Child Health award by the Program for Global Paediatric Research for outstanding contributions to Global Child Health and Research. He was recently elected an honorary Fellow of the American Academy of Pediatrics for contributions to international child health. Dr. Bhutta was the first recipient of the Aga Khan University Distinguished Faculty Award for Research.

Dr Bhutta has been a part of AKU since 1986. He is currently the Noordin Noormahomed Sheriff Endowed Professor and Founding Chair of the Division of Women and Child Health at AKU. He was designated a Distinguished National Professor of the Government of Pakistan in 2007. He is also the Dean of the faculty of Paediatrics of the College of Physicians & Surgeons, Pakistan and the Chairman of the National Research Ethics Committee of the Government of Pakistan.  Dr. Bhutta was instrumental in the formation of the Division of Women and Child Health at Aga Khan University that combined various service delivery and research programs into a single and cohesive framework for improved health outcomes. He has also contributed to the foundation for a Centre of Excellence in Women and Child Health at Aga Khan University.

Dr Bhutta has published three books, 40 book chapters, and over 225 indexed publications to date. He is a frequent writer in the Lancet, the leading medical and health research journal in the world. His work serves as the launching pad for additional research in child health and child survival. Dr. Bhutta was a part of the Global Independent Commission on Education of Health Professionals for the 21st Century. The recommendations of this Commission are considered highly influential in reforming medical curricula around the world. These have also served as the basis for the development of Aga Khan University’s undergraduate medical and nursing curricula for East Africa.  

Ladies and gentleman, on behalf of the Chancellor and members of the Board of Trustees, I am pleased to present Dr Zulfiqar Bhutta with the Aga Khan University Award of Distinction.​​​

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