Message from the Chair

Warm welcome to the department of Paediatrics and Child Health at Aga Khan University. At this department faculty, residents and staff are committed to provision of high quality clinical services and residency training. Faculty currently provide clinical services in allergy, cardiology, critical care, endocrine and metabolic diseases, gastroenterology, haematology oncology, infectious disease, neurology, neonatology, nephrology, psychiatry, pulmonology and rheumatology.

The department of Paediatrics was inaugurated in 2007 and is now in its twelfth year of provision of reliable, evidence based clinical services and relevant residency training. 

The first decade saw the refurbishment of a facility that had been inaugurated by the first president of the Republic of Kenya in December of 1963. Using this 30 bed facility as well as a newer neonatal unit housed within the heart and cancer center a total of nineteen graduates have completed their training in masters in Paediatrics and child health. 

Majority of these have gone on to complete fellowship training in various sub specialties including, critical care, child health, rheumatology and cardiology. One former resident has commenced training in paediatric neurology and another in haemato-oncology. Graduates from the department have gone on to take various leadership roles in institutions where they have been contracted to provide clinical services. 

Alumni from the program have evaluated the training provided as having equipped them with skills that give them the confidence to handle challenges in daily practice. For those who envisage training with us they are most welcome to visit the department during university annual open days.

The department at this time has entered a phase that seeks to build on the foundation laid in the first decade of its existence. One of the landmark achievements during that period was Joint commission accreditation of the Aga Khan University hospital in Nairobi. 

This is an important milestone which provides a rubric that guides ongoing care, encouraging safety and excellence in clinical practice. Benefits of adhering to standards outlined by the Joint commission international extend beyond clinical care and contribute to the quality of resident training, staff management and future research projects. 

At this time we enter an exciting phase during which construction of the AKUHN Children’s subspecialty hospital is due to commence. The planned structure is a five storey ultramodern building envisaged to provide adequate space for emergency and ambulatory services while also incorporating well designed teaching spaces on each floor. 

An inpatient facility that includes bespoke rooms to accommodate adolescents needing hospital admissions and also caters to the needs of younger children has been planned. The facility shall also include a NICU, PICU and an endoscopy suite. Hand in hand with the physical infrastructure personnel to provide services in this facility current exist and further expansion of numbers operational within each sub-specialty is currently underway. 

From the initial enrollment of two residents each year we have now increased the number recruited to five each year. The current faculty to resident ratio is 1:1 which allows for adequate exposure to learning opportunities. With increasing faculty numbers further expansion of resident enrollment is envisaged.

In 2017 the center of excellence for women and child health was operationalized in East Africa. This is a collaboration which along with the institute for human development and the recently expanded research support unit facilitates research efforts and it is hoped that the number of publications from the department shall continue to increase as focus shifts from hospital based research to population based studies. Successful completion of a research dissertation is a requirement prior to graduation. 

These projects contribute to departmental research output with ongoing projects focused on congenital cardiac disease, Adolescents with HIV, retinopathy of prematurity, malnutrition and the residency training experience.  ​

Dr Pauline Samia, MBChB, MMed, MPhil
Chair, Department of Paediatrics and Child Health
Aga Khan University, Nairobi.