Mr. Taimur Jhagra, Minister for Health and Finance for the province of Khyber Pakhthunkhwa visited the Aga Khan University, Medical College on the 4th of October, 2021. The honorable minister graciously accepted the invitation of Dr Adil Haider, dean of the Medical College and Dr Zainab Samad, director CITRIC Health Data Science Center to spend the day on our campus, to meet senior leadership and lead a panel on Universal Health Coverage (UHC).
Mr. Jhagra began his visit by giving an inspirational talk on the health initiatives currently in place in KP, focusing specifically on the Sehat Card Plus programme; his government’s flagship initiative aimed at ultimately providing universal health coverage. His presentation was followed by a panel discussion on equitable healthcare, UHC and public private partnerships to achieve our healthcare goals. The panel consisted of Dr Sameen Siddiqui, professor and chair of Community Health Sciences at AKU, Dr Zulfiqar Bhutta, a Distinguished University Professor at AKU, and Dr Sadaf Khan, the associate dean for UGME and associate professor of Surgery at AKU. Dr Zainab Samad, professor and chair of the Department of Medicine moderated the discussion which focused on how academia could support government healthcare initiatives through independent programme evaluations, implementation research, and educational capacity building initiatives.
“Mr Jhagra shared with us an inspiring story of implementation and impact created by this pioneering health coverage program rolled out in KP. Change is difficult but can be achieved. There was so much to take away from this for our trainees and faculty- including the data-driven approach to guiding roll out and regular monitoring of the program, ” said Dr Zainab Samad.
Following an engaging Q&A session, Mr. Jhagra met with senior faculty who briefed him about their relevant ongoing projects across areas of health data sciences, telemedicine, and an expanded programme on immunizations in KP, and explored avenues of possible future collaborations. Minister Jhagra expressed a keen interest in working with the Aga Khan University to leverage the expertise and experience of our faculty and staff in areas of data science, research, monitoring and evaluation, and primary care to name a few.
“I am honored to have been invited to speak at AKU on the KP Sehat Card Plus programme, and for a very full day of engagements. I am proud that Pakistan can produce such world class institutions as AKU. I leave inspired, to say the least,” said Minister Taimur Jhagra.
The Minister and his team were taken on a tour of the campus before their lunch meeting with President Sulaiman Shahabuddin and the senior leadership of AKU.
“We have so much to learn from KP’s health initiatives and their commitment towards achieving universal healthcare. I look forward to having Mr Jhagra share his vast knowledge with us again soon,” said Dr Adil Haider.