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Prince Karim opens high-tech facility at AKU

Sunday, 2017, December 17
H.H. The Aga Khan IV inaugurates the Centre for Innovation in Medical Education, Karachi  2017-12-17

Prince Karim Aga Khan, the spiritual leader of the Shia Ismaili community, on Friday inaugurated the Centre for Innovation in Medical Education (CIME), a state-of-the-art facility for technology-based learning for health professionals, at the Aga Khan University.

In his inaugural address, Prince Karim Aga Khan, who is also the Chancellor of the AKU, acknowledged the many contributions made towards the advancement of healthcare in the country. He, however, stated that the civil society was underserved in education in Pakistan.

Expressing his gratitude to all those who had sustained the university, he said: “We should position this institution in its correct place in service to Pakistan.”

Sir Aga Khan hoped that the newly-established CIME would transform the education of health professionals through the use of simulation and virtual reality technology to develop knowledge and skills before treating patients.

The 80,000-square foot, Rs1.6 billion, donor-funded centre comprises three buildings – the Mariyam Bashir Dawood Building, the Ibn Sina Building and the Shiraz Boghani Building.

The foundation stone for the three buildings of the CIME was laid by Prince Karima Aga Khan during his previous visit to Pakistan in 2013. The inauguration of the facility on Friday was part of the Aga Khan’s state visit to Pakistan on the occasion of his Diamond Jubilee: the 60th anniversary of his accession as the spiritual leader of the Shia Ismaili
community in 1957.

The centre offers multi-purpose teaching spaces, high-fidelity simulators, and specialty environments such as the phantom-head dental lab, a cardiac catheterisation lab and telemedicine clinics.

Speaking on the occasion, the CIME director said the centre aimed to raise the bar for teaching and learning and to thereby deliver higher standards of practice across the professions of medicine, nursing and allied health. “We seek to become a strategic asset for Pakistan and the region that is at the forefront of efforts to raise the standard of healthcare.”

Learning from other such centres around the world, the CIME supports student-centred problem-based and team-based learning. Students and professionals from different disciplines work together on real-life patient simulations. For example, nurses and doctors can practice responding to a situation in which a patient stops breathing, using a high-tech mannequin that responds as a real patient would respond. Afterwards, they can watch a video of themselves and analyse their performance.

High-speed communications technology allows video connectivity throughout the CIME and with international experts, offering a truly global classroom, with students able to learn from specialists anywhere in the world in real-time. This same connectivity allows CIME to work with remote and rural populations within Pakistan and neighbouring countries to expand access to quality healthcare.

“In everything we do, as our Chancellor says, ‘we must look to the future, seeking always to think creatively, to innovate and to improve,’” said AKU President Firoz Rasul. “Technology-enabled learning has the potential to transform how we prepare students and professionals to face society’s most pressing issues. By giving today’s health professionals the most advanced facilities to work and learn together at the CIME, we give them the best chance of becoming leaders capable of solving tomorrow’s healthcare challenges.

“The AKU has been the recipient of significant philanthropic support,” he added. “That support has enabled us to launch important new ventures, build new facilities and achieve ever-higher standards. We are very grateful to our donors for their extraordinary generosity,” Rasul said.

“Using the latest technology in simulation, whilst being guided by our faculty, makes for a more effective learning environment for students, by converting high-risk, high-reward scenarios into zero-risk, high-reward scenarios,” said Ibrahim Habib, a third-year medical student at the AKU.

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