Dean’s Communiqué
















Edition 05 | February 2019






Dear Colleagues,


We have officially entered the year of Nursing and Midwifery in Pakistan. It is a proud moment for SONAM and the entire University as the School’s vision of raising the standard and standing of the profession is now being shared by the government of Pakistan and our national nurse leaders, who are joining forces with global nursing stakeholders. As you read through this edition, you will see details on the inauguration of the global Nursing Now campaign in Pakistan that took place in Islamabad last month as well as how we are moving forward on supporting this initiative.












2019: the Year of Nursing in Pakistan


January 8, 2019 was an exciting day for all of us as it marked first Pakistan Nursing and Midwifery Summit in Pakistan as well as the inauguration of Nursing Now Pakistan by President Dr Arif Alvi declared. Dr Alvi declared 2019 to be dedicated to nurses and towards the advancement of the profession in the country.


The School, through our leadership of the Nursing and Midwifery Leaders’ Forum that was launched last year, was closely involved with the Director-General Health and the Ministry of National Health Services, Regulation and Coordination in planning the programme.


At the inauguration, one of our alumni gave an address on behalf of Pakistan’s nurses. The professional sessions saw some of our faculty members, a student and a nurse intern present to the entire gathering. The event was attended by representatives from the World Health Organization, the International Council of Nurses, several non-governmental organisations, nurses and policymakers from around Pakistan and the world.


Following the Summit, SONAM hosted a talk by the global Nursing Now campaign consultant Dr Catherine Hannaway on February 6, 2019.


All of us at the School are absolutely geared up to making huge contributions this year and beyond to raise the profile of nursing and support Nursing Now’s ambition to “empower nurses to take their place at the heart of tackling 21st century health challenges”.


















Joint Appointments with AKUH


We are finally on the verge of a couple of exciting joint appointments between SONAM and AKUH. The first with the Clinical Trials Unit will enhance our research activity particularly in randomised control trials. We will also be working with the Pediatrics Service Line to expand research and practice with a focus on heart disease and health-related Quality of Life.


We look forward to working with the hospital even more in the upcoming months.


Midwifery Shared Care Model


We have been consistent in our efforts to support our midwives in getting credentialed, starting to practice in a shared care model and eventually as independent practitioners. Our efforts are finally bearing fruit: with the support of our Credentialing Committee, as well as Dr Lumaan Sheikh, our midwives have begun practicing under this model in the secondary hospitals. We can’t wait to take this initiative forward and make similar progress with our midwifery colleagues nationwide.













Lactation Consultancy


Congratulations to our colleague, Zohra Kurji! Ms Kurji was recently recertified as a lactation consultant by the US-based International Board of Lactation Consultant Examiners, and is set to begin her practice at the AKUH soon.


Clinical Practice


In collaboration with AKUH service lines and the Aga Khan Health Services, Pakistan, we are aiming to grow on our plans for Advanced Practice in clinical areas and to eventually raise standards of care across interior Sindh. SONAM faculty members are also engaging in clinical practice as part of their roles as academicians.










Meet Dr Laila Ladak, our Stellar Alumna




This month, we are celebrating one of our star alumni, Dr Laila Ladak, MScN ’09, Post-RN BScN ’03, Diploma in Nursing ’93, AKU-SONAM, who has become the first nurse to be appointed to the Congenital Heart Disease (CHD) Standard Set working group led by the International Consortium for Health Outcomes Measurement. She has also recently come back to work with us, after completing her PhD in Nursing from the University of Sydney, and we can’t be more excited!  


In her words: “I am excited to join such a committee whose vision aligns with something I truly believe in, the integration of patient reported outcomes in healthcare planning”, she says. From low and middle income countries (LMICs), Laila is the only nurse expert on health related quality of life in the CHD working group that comprises of twenty members; including representatives from North America, Canada, Europe, Australia and New Zealand, and now South Asia. She, along with Dr Babar Hasan, a paediatric cardiologist at AKUH, will be representing the expert group from Pakistan with patients’ representation from a Lahore-based non-government organisation. This is an excellent opportunity for her to contribute her unique perspective from an LMIC to the development of the standards of practice for CHD patients.







Signing MoUs with Chinese Universities


You’ll remember the MoU we signed last year with the Peking Union Medical College, School of Nursing. This year we have made progress in building more partnerships in China and will be signing another MoU with Shandong University soon. This partnership will give us opportunities for faculty studies at master’s and PhD levels, student and faculty exchanges, and collaborations in research and professional activities.










We are also strengthening our established collaborations with North American institutes as we grow our research activities in perinatal mental health. We are now working with University of Calgary, University of Ghent, York University as well as with colleagues at the University of Washington, Seattle.







Partnering for Capacity Building


SONAM, in collaboration with the WHO Regional Office for the Eastern Mediterranean, is facilitating the Rawalpindi Medical University (RMU) in capacity building of their nurses and nurse educators, particularly in the area of mental healthcare.


The School has designed a customised training programme that will be carried out partly at RMU and partly at AKU-SONAM.









Our Future Scholars


I am delighted to announce that the number of our faculty members pursuing PhDs is growing: Saleema Gulzar at the University of Sydney, Ambreen Gowani and Salma Rattani at the University of Alberta, Ambreen Tharani and Shireen Shehzad at the University of Ghent and Lubna Ghazal at Karolinska Universitat.


Our colleagues pursuing a PhD at AKU include Khairulnissa Ajani who is nearing completion, Arusa Lakhani who is progressing well with her research, and Sehrish Sajjad who will begin her doctorate in 2019.


Good luck, colleagues! You make us proud.


Faculty Achievement


Our colleague, Dr Tazeen S. Ali has been elected to the Executive Council Member for the Population Association of Pakistan. We wish her good luck in the efforts to strengthen her ties with experts and industry leaders, and government officials.













Workshops, Seminars and More




The School’s Geriatrics and Gerontology and Public Health clinical streams held an impressive Train the Trainer Workshop as they marked the International Day for Older Persons 2018. In the workshop, participants from various hospitals and healthcare institutes came together to learn about age-specific special health needs and to critically analyse and manage conditions such as delirium, dementia and depression. The workshop was one-of-a-kind as it enabled participants to train more healthcare providers in their respective institutes.






SONAM’s Mental Health clinical stream organised a series of events that aimed to raise awareness among students about common mental health issues, where to seek help and how to practice stress reduction techniques. The events were held to mark World Mental Health Day 2018.




Maternal, Newborn and Child Health and Midwifery clinical stream conducted workshops on nutrition and adolescent health for differently abled children at schools for kids with special needs. Similar session was also held at AKU’s rehabilitation centre for healthcare providers where they went through a hands-on training related to infant massage. These were done to mark Universal Children’s Day 2018.












And finally, I leave you all with some happy pictures of our graduates of 2018 and an emotion-rich piece composed and read by Rabia Salim Rashid, BScN ’18, at the annual dinner this year.




"Those beautiful university days...

Group work, fights, untold stories,
Hectic days and busy schedules,
I understand...

Picnics, parties, gatherings, day outs,
Attractive guys and girls,
I understand...

Battles you fought within yourself,
Depressing night with wet pillow,
I understand...

Mark sheet in hand and walking through the corridor,
Application and assignments with unappreciative remarks,
I understand...

Negligence of friends and class fellows,
crying inside and laughing outside,
I understand...

Long travel for this remarkable day,
Countless efforts and struggling hard
I understand...

I salute you for the hard work you did
I salute you for being sincere and honest with profession till the end.
I salute you for tolerating all the bad times and hardships, either alone or with friends...
I salute you for all you did for yourself.

Remember, I'm nothing to you nor you're to me.
It's just a journey, enjoy and be yourself!










We would be happy to receive your comments and feedback. Please write to us at sonam.pk@aku.edu