The Foundation Ceremony of the new Women’s Wing at the French Medical Institute for Children (FMIC) today, marked the start of construction for a new obstetrics and gynaecology wing on the hospital premises that will provide high quality care for mothers and newborns in Afghanistan. The building, which will take 24 months to complete, will offer 52 additional beds for obstetric and gynecologic care and a 14-bed neonatal intensive care unit — the first in Afghanistan.
His Excellency Karim Khalili vice President of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, His Highness Prince Karim Aga Khan, and His Excellency Laurent Fabius Minister of Foreign Affairs of the French Republic were the guest for the occasion.
In a speech at the ceremony the Aga Khan hailed the FMIC’s standards of excellence and said the facility was making Afghanistan’s health care system more self-reliant.
“What all of this means for Afghanistan, quite simply, is that people here no longer need to feel they must venture outside the country in order to get quality health care,” he said adding that he regarded the FMIC and its expansion as part of broader effort to bring quality medical care not only to Afghanistan but also the neighbouring areas. He also announced longer-term plans to build on a plot adjacent to the hospital an international medical centre serving the entire region.
The hospital’s new US$ 17.7 million wing will be financed by the Government of France (US$ 11.7 million) and the Aga Khan Development Network (US$ 6 million). The start of the services is planned for early 2015. A dedicated team from FMIC and the Aga Khan University (AKU) will oversee the progress of the project.
France’ foreign minister, Laurent Fabius, described the Kabul hospital and its staff as exemplary. He said he was greeted at the hospital door by a five-year old girl who had an open heart surgery just days ago. “What other justification does one need?” he said.
Afghanistan’s vice president, Karim Khalili, also lauded FMIC’s work. “FMIC has achieved many successes since its inception and has achieved excellence in many fields in healthcare in Afghanistan,” he said. .
The French Medical Institute for Children, inaugurated in 2006, is a public-private partnership between the Government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, the Government of France, the Aga Khan Development Network (AKDN) and the French organization “La Chaîne de l’Espoir”. The Hospital is managed and operated by the Aga Khan University (AKU), which is an agency of The AKDN.
In a brief address at the foundation ceremony the president of La Chaine de l’Espoir, Dr Eric Cheysson described the occasion as a moment of “great emotion, honour and a fulfillment of a dream.”
In the last six years, FMIC has introduced advanced techniques in pediatric care, such as pediatric cardiac surgery, spine surgery and laparoscopic surgeries for children. In 2009, the services of the FMIC were certified as compliant with ISO 9001:2008 standards, which reflects their quality. The FMIC has also started its first Post Graduate Medical Education (PGME) programs in pediatric medicine and pediatric surgery in co-operation with the Ministry of Public Health and the AKU in Karachi, Pakistan. The hospital is also the hub for telemedicine activities in the country, providing services to hospitals in Bamyan and Faizabad.
The introduction of the new obstetric and gynecology services follows the initial plan of the partners to establish a comprehensive Mother and Child Hospital, to respond to the needs of the Afghan population in health care. The principles of capacity building for local health care providers, which has been established at the FMIC will be maintained and extended to services for the care of women and newborns country wide.
Your Excellency Vice President Khalili
Monsieur Laurent Fabius, Ministre des Affaires Etrangères de la Republique Française
Ministers in the Government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan
Members of the Provisional Operating Committee of the FMIC
Distinguished Guests and Friends
Assalam-o-Alaikum, Good Morning and Bonjour
It is indeed a pleasure to welcome you today as we celebrate the success and the expansion of the French Medical Institute for Children.
As you know, the FMIC has been treating the children of Afghanistan for more than six years – offering care at the highest international standards – and transforming the lives of so many families in this country.
In a relatively short time, the hospital has developed a truly impressive facility and capability. For example, last year, over 300 heart surgeries were done on babies.
In its short history FMIC has performed more than 10,000 pediatric surgeries for cases such as birth defects, heart diseases, limb deformities, as well as accidents. It was the first hospital in Afghanistan to do heart surgeries, and already, 1,200 have been performed. The hospital has treated more than 400,000 outpatients and more than 23,000 children have been admitted for treatment. This Institute has created more than a quarter million diagnostic images - and conducted over a million and a half lab tests.
And the impact of this facility has been felt across the region, as it also connects with other leading hospitals: the Aga Khan University Hospital in Karachi, in addition to many hospitals in France.
This accomplishment results from a unique partnership – with inputs from four different sources. The four anchors are the governments of Afghanistan and France, joined by two private entities, the French NGO – La Chaine de L’Espoir/Enfants Afghans – and the Aga Khan Development Network (AKDN).
What we have created here, however, is not some highly exceptional showcase to benefit a privileged few.
What this project is doing is charting a course towards sustainable health solutions all across Afghanistan. In fact, FMIC is a critical hub for the AKDN Integrated Health system, which is designed to bring international standard primary, secondary and tertiary health care to the people of Central Asia, including those in the remotest areas. This system is built on three basic commitments.
The first of these commitments is to providing care of the very highest quality.
One mark of that quality is the fact that FMIC is the first hospital in Afghanistan to achieve ISO 9001:2008 certification. And it is currently preparing to meet the most demanding standard in hospital quality - accreditation from the American Joint Commission International.
In addition, I am pleased to note, and I think that this is particularly important, is that the Bamyan Provincial Hospital managed by the Aga Khan Health Services, the Community Midwifery Education and our Basic Health Centres in Shiber District also achieved ISO 8001-2009 certification last month - the first provincial hospital and health programmes in the country to do so.
What all of this means for Afghanistan, quite simply, is that people here no longer need to feel they must venture outside the country in order to get quality health care.
A second core mission of the FMIC is broadening access to care – to reach the local population, including the indigent and needy. The key to meeting this challenge is the Hospital’s generous welfare program. To put it very simply, no one is denied care at the FMIC because of his or her inability to pay.
Since 2006, over 200,000 patients coming from all 34 provinces of Afghanistan have benefitted from the welfare program. In 2012, that is this year, 90% of inpatients will receive welfare support. The four partner organizations have contributed generously to the cost of this program – some $15 million – as have others donors such as Roshan Telecom – and our deepest gratitude goes out to all of them.
Financial access has not been the only problem. Physical access to care can also be a difficult barrier. But in this case, new technologies have opened up new pathways. These are e-health facilities - electronic connections, which allow for tele-consultations to patients, tele-radiology and pathology analysis and e-learning sessions for continuing education. Telemedicine links to the Provincial Hospitals in Bamyan and Faizabad, and the Khorog General Hospital in Tajikistan, bring world-class care to remote areas. The number to date of such tele-consultations is 3,400, the number of tele-radiology images that have been interpreted is 3,300 – and altogether 2,000 staff have benefitted from e-learning.
Afghanistan has been a pioneer in using modern technology to reach out to the general population and we look forward to expanding such connections to other provincial hospitals in the country and in the region.
Expanding quality and broadening access would not be possible, however, without a third component – a rapidly growing pool of qualified health care professionals. This is why we have emphasized programmes for training and mentoring Afghan nationals for such roles. We are also working to attract health professionals in the diaspora to return to Afghanistan.
As a result, our earlier reliance on expatriates to do these jobs has been falling – in fact, of the 555 staff members here at the FMIC, 96 percent are now Afghans.
At the same time, the Continuing Medical Education program is helping doctors and nurses working elsewhere in Kabul to update and upgrade their skills. For example, we established in partnership with the Ministry of Public Health - a Post Graduate Program in Pediatric Medicine and Pediatric Surgery, with initial financing from the Canadian International Development Agency. I also wish to mention the training of community midwives in Badakhshan, which is supported by the German Government, through its development agency KfW, and nursing education at the Ghazanfar Institute of Health Sciences, supported by USAID. We express our gratitude to these agencies.
We are here today to celebrate a new project - one that promises to take us into an equally exciting future.
Phase 2 of the FMIC project is the Women’s Wing – designed to provide and inspire superior obstetric and gynecological care here in Kabul – and throughout the region. The new wing will add a total of 52 maternal beds, along with two Operating Rooms and six delivery rooms. A new Neonatal Intensive Care Unit will be added, again first the first time in Afghanistan.
The building will carefully anticipate a wide variety of needs - at a cost of some 17.7 million dollars, provided by the Government of France, through the Agence Française de Développement and the Aga Khan Development Network. This cooperative project builds on a wide array of such partnerships between the AKDN and the Government of France. Together, for example, we are now developing Heart and Cancer Centers in East Africa, as well as a variety of cross-border health initiatives in Central Asia. Let me take this opportunity to pay special tribute to the French hospitals as well as missions of doctors and nurses, in addition to our partner, La Chaine de L’Espoir, for their professional commitment and remarkable contribution. Thank you.
Monsieur le Ministre, permettez-moi, également, de vous dire combien je vous suis reconnaissant d’avoir voulu honorer cette cérémonie de votre présence.
There is one more dimension of our future vision that deserves to be mentioned before we conclude. I refer to an exciting plan to create, on the land adjacent to this site, a great new Kabul International Medical Centre – a Centre of Excellence for providing tertiary care services and medical education of the highest quality. This new complex will be an intellectual and service hub for an integrated health delivery system serving the entire Central Asian region.
The region includes the neighbouring countries of Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, Northern Pakistan, Kazakhstan and even Western China, where the Integrated Health System would impact over 100 million people. The success of this regional initiative, in my view, is predicated on public-private partnerships that sustain the institutions through best practice. Indeed the relationship we have established with this hospital and those in Bamyan and Faizabad are models of such partnerships.
The Government of Afghanistan’s commitment to this vision – like the generous spirit of our French partners – is something that continues to inspire us all – as we work together to improve the quality of life for the people of this country and this region – and for generations yet unborn.
Sunday, October 21, 2012
Kabul (BNA) President Hamid Karzai met with Prince Karim Agha Khan in respect to the infrastructural projects of the Agha Khan Foundation in Afghanistan.
At the meeting president Karzai called the cooperation of the Agha Khan Foundation on reconstruction of health sphere, educational and cultural heritage as very important.
President Karzai also expressed appreciation over the USD five million assistance of friendly Germany to the Agha Khan Development Foundation for reconstruction of the cultural heritage of Afghanistan.
Prince Karim Agha Khan thanked the government of Afghanistan for facilitating the ground for activities of the Agha Khan Development Network and assured of continued assistance of the network in different spheres especially reconstruction of cultural heritages of Afghanistan.
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