​Workshop on Fundamentals of Health Care Research (AKU & AKHSP)

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The Aga Khan University's CITRIC Health Data Science Center organized a workshop on Fundamentals of Healthcare Research on June 23rd-25th, 2022. The training team comprised of different faculty members from the organization with Ph.D. backgrounds, hands-on clinical research experience, pediatricians, cardiologists, systematic review experts & specialists in community-level interventions. The participants of the training workshop belong to Gilgit Baltistan Aga Khan Health Services Pakistan (sister organization of AKU). The workshop aimed to train participants to learn how to critically analyze research methodologies identified in the existing literature, propose, and distinguish appropriate research designs and methodologies to apply to a specific research project. The program also focused on developing a comprehensive research methodology for a research question and applying the understanding of feasibility and practicality of research methodology for a proposed project. The two-day workshop ended with an initiative between the organizations to promote future collaborative research projects.​

Cervical Cancer Seminar

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Globally, cervical cancer is the fourth leading cause of cancer-related deaths among women. Over 85% of these deaths occur in developing regions, many low-income countries are lagging in eliminating the set target by WHO. Incidence rates for cervical cancer in Pakistan were higher than the WHO target, it targets the elimination of less than 4 per 100,000 females. Aga Khan University's (AKU) CITRIC Health Data Science Centre and Centre of Excellence in Women and Child Health hosted public and private sector experts in Islamabad for a seminar on cervical cancer in Pakistan on March 9th, 2022, supported by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Dr. Faisal Sultan, Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Health, attended the event's chief guest along with different healthcare system representatives from Gavi and JHPiego. The event highlighted variation in the reported estimates of cervical cancer across Pakistan. Karachi Cancer Registry reported the highest incident rate over time, showing estimates well above the WHO 2030 target for cervical cancer elimination. Seminar participants also included Dr. Mark Jit and Dr. Kiesha Prem who are experts working on HPV vaccines from the London School of Hygiene shared their insights in the discussion on the cost-effectiveness of HPV vaccination. Dr. Peter Dull, Deputy Director, Vaccine Development and Surveillance, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, explained the cervical cancer vaccine landscape & shared early data on single-dose vaccination. Experts from AKU, Dr. Sajid Bashir Soofi, Professor at the Department of Pediatrics and Child Health, and Associate Director at Centre of Excellence in Women and Child Health, Dr. Zainab Samad, Chair of the Department of Medicine and Director of CITRIC Health Data Science Centre, shared their viewpoint along with Dr. Zulfiqar Bhutta, Distinguished University Professor Institute for Global Health and Development, Aga Khan University, In his concluding remarks shared that cervical cancer is not a trivial disorder and is fatal unless treated and prevented he also added that vaccinations, in general, are the most cost-effective interventions

Following are the Op-eds that have been published as the strategic campaign to highlight the Burden of Cervical Cancer in Pakistan.

​Bootcamp on Health Data Science

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Data is an important component of every field, considering health data is an emerging field, it is important not only in developed parts of the world but also in developing countries. However, the capacity to manage & analyze data is at the nascent stage in low-middle-income countries, which is why one of their first initiative on capacity-building workshop on Health Data Science was held on 11th December 2021 in Islamabad. It was organized by the CITRIC Health Data Science center team from Aga Khan University Hospital and supported by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. The program highlighted different topics on machine learning algorithms in healthcare, python basics, data wrangling, visualization in python, statistics using python, business intelligence and data warehousing, data science and public health, social determinants of health and ethics, and artificial intelligence. The event was meant to bring different stakeholders together for future partnerships and collaborations across Pakistan. This involved several clinician experts who work with health data and are sharing how it is used and how advanced analytic techniques can help. The facilitators included Dr. Zainab Samad director of the Health Data Science Center at AKU, external experts Dr. Rumi Chunara from NYU, Dr.Salim Virani from Baylor College of Medicine, and other data scientists Ms. Kauser Parveen, Salma Tajudin & Dr. Amir Abbas. This workshop provided great momentum to galvanize more events for building capacity in health data management in Pakistan. 

​Stakeholder Meeting

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On December 10th & 11th 2021, The Aga Khan University’s CITRIC Health Data Science Center Supported by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation conducted a 2 days hybrid Collaborative stakeholder meeting in Islamabad. The collaboration included AKDN partners (AKHS, AKF, AKES), in academia engineering universities (National University of Science & Technology, Ghulam Ishaq Khan Institute of Engineering Sciences & Technology, FAST - National University of Computer & Emerging Sciences, National University of Modern Languages, Bahria University, Riphah University), health data organizations such as Pakistan Bureau of Statistics, Gallup Pakistan & Akhtar Hameed Khan Foundation. These meetings disseminated information about AKU’s Health data science initiative and explored opportunities for collaboration in ​data analytics and capacity building.​