Tanzania: Aga Khan Launches Key Training Programme
Dar es Salaam — The Aga Khan School of Nursing and Midwifery has initiated a training programme--Respectful Maternity Care--with a view to providing skills to nurses, midwives and clinical officers in public hospitals, dispensaries and health centres.
The programme was launched yesterday with more than 50 trainees including nurses, midwives and clinical officers from Ilala and Temeke district councils in Dar es Salaam city.
The training will also take place today for other trainees from remaining councils of Kinondoni, Ubungo and Kigamboni, according to the School of Nursing and Midwifery academic head, Dr Columba Mbekenga.
"The programme is for the whole country in both public and private health facilities. We, however, are beginning with Dar es Salaam as our pilot study," she said. The move, according to her, is to remind the maternity staff about their codes of ethics when fulfilling their duties.
"All women have the right to a positive childbirth experience including respect and dignity, companion of choice, clear communication by maternity staff, pain relief and mobility in labour and birth position of choice," she said. She added that as a leader in nursing and midwifery education for more than 30 years she has not been happy when hearing stories of mothers being mistreated when giving birth.
Activist couple shares success stories of turning around government schools
KARACHI: The importance of public schools in ensuring quality education for all children and the role of the private sector in strengthening the public education system was in focus at the 49th event of the Aga Khan University’s Sixth Sense Forum (6sf) with Shehzad Roy and his wife Salma Alam as the speakers on Thursday.
“Reform is always an unfinished business,” said Roy, singer and founder of the Zindagi Trust, as he shared his experience with public sector education reforms.
The Aga Khan University held its 31st Convocation ceremony in Pakistan on Saturday, December 1, 2018. With 441 students receiving degrees and diplomas, this was th​e University’s largest Convocation ceremony, to date. Ms Roshaneh Zafar, Managing Director of Kashf Foundation, was the Chief Guest of the ceremony.
The School of Nursing and Midwifery conferred a total of 228 degrees, including 14 Master of Science in Nursing, 203 Bachelor of Science in Nursing and 11 Bachelor of Science in Midwifery degrees.
The Medical College conferred four Doctor of Philosophy in Health Sciences, nine Master of Science in Epidemiology and Biostatistics, 25 Master of Science in Health Policy and Management, 10 Master of Health Professions Education and 105 Bachelor of Medicine, Bachelor of Surgery (MBBS) degrees. An Advanced Diploma in Health Professions Education was awarded to one student and six Diplomas in Dental Hygiene were awarded.
The Institute for Educational Development conferred 44 degrees this year. A Doctor of Philosophy in Education degree was awarded to one student, the Master of Philosophy in Education to 16 and the Master of Education degree to 27 students.
Nine students, who had completed their Master of Arts in Muslim Cultures programme at University's Institute for the Study of Muslim Civilisations in London, also received their degrees during this ceremony.
The graduates of our class 2018 reveal the most memorable lessons from their time at AKU. Find out how their experiences at university have shaped them into individuals who are ready to make their mark on the world. Read more about the 2018 Convocation at: https://www.aku.edu/news/Pages/News_D...
Take a look into the exciting opportunities available through the AKU - International Internship Programmes. Placements are available throughout the year in ten countries across Asia and Africa, in the fields of Health, Education, Finance, Business, Communications, Research and others. Read more at: www.aku.edu/iip
Aga Khan University inaugurates state of the art Anatomy and Surgery Learning Studio
BY ISMAILIMAIL POSTED ON DECEMBER 14, 2018
AKU's news Anatomy and Surgery Learning Studio
Karachi, December 14, 2018: The Aga Khan University Medical College cut the ribbon on its new anatomy and surgical skills lab, introducing the latest available learning aids in an enlarged space for students to learn about the human body structure, and enable residents and practicing physicians and surgeons to rehearse difficult and complicated surgical procedures before performing them on real patients.
The opening of the Anatomy and Surgery Learning Studio, which coincides with the AKU’s 35th anniversary, took place as a new cohort of students prepares to join the University renowned for preparing its graduates to be innovative thinkers, collaborative clinicians and critical problem solvers.
Anatomy is a cornerstone of medical education. The renovation of the old Anatomy Lab and adjacent spaces to create additional teaching and learning spaces has integrated state-of-the-art technology and interactive learning with the classic anatomy dissection experience to better prepare students to become great clinicians. Medical, nursing, dental students and other disciplines allied to medicine will all learn about human anatomy in the new Learning Studio using different approaches including didactic lectures, practical sessions based on models, prosected materials, radiological images, cadaveric dissection as well as newer methods using interactive computer-based software.
The Learning Studio also features BodyViz, the latest in anatomy software that will allow students, both undergraduate and graduate, to explore and better understand anatomical concepts. The software fuses advances in visualisation technology with the accuracy of radiology, as it renders interactive 3D visualisations directly from MRI and CT data on a laptop, PC and iPads. It integrates easily into all levels of anatomy curriculum and medical training; supplements anatomical study done through cadaver and can support preoperative planning.
“Our Anatomy and Surgery Learning Studio is the most advanced educational environment to learn and teach anatomy as well as surgical skills in Pakistan; it will forever change the way we educate about the human body at the Aga Khan University,” said outgoing Dean of the Medical College Dr Farhat Abbas at the ribbon-cutting ceremony.
The new Studio was initiated by ideas from our faculty and made possible by a generous gift from a long-standing supporter of education at AKU. In recognising the donors, Firoz Rasul, President of the Aga Khan University said: “Excellent academic programmes, such as ours, are dependent on excellent educational resources, including people, learning spaces and technology. While honouring our past accomplishments, we are also looking to the needs of our students who are learning in an ever-changing environment for education and medicine to produce the highest qualified professionals.”
Facility tours and demonstrations were provided to highlight the technology and resources available to medical students who will learn hands-on about anatomy and pathology
Aga Khan Hospital Laboratory Gets Accreditation from College of American Pathologists
11th December 2018 Comment(0)
NAIROBI – The Aga Khan University Hospital Laboratory, Nairobi, Kenya has been awarded accreditation by the Accreditation Committee of the College of American Pathologists (CAP). The CAP accreditation is a global recognition for the excellence of the services provided by the Hospitals Laboratory.
Dr Zahir Moloo, Chair Department of Pathology and Medical Director of Laboratory Services, talking about the recognition, said, “It has been a team effort since we began our journey towards CAP Accreditation three years ago. The faculty and the technical team in the department are proud to be the first Hospital-based Clinical Laboratory in Africa to achieve such a high standard of recognition. This Accreditation will be recertified every two years.”
Dr Shawn Bolouki, Chief Executive upon learning of the laboratory’s accreditation, said: “We are very proud as an institution to be awarded this accreditation a testimony of our commitment to the provision of high-quality patient care equivalent to the best hospitals in the world.
“Quality diagnosis is critical to positive patient care outcomes, and this CAP accreditation is a validation of our laboratory’s capability which serves patients from across East Africa and Central. We appreciate and congratulate all our staff for their hard work towards this achievement. ”
During the CAP accreditation process, designed to ensure the highest standard of care for all laboratory patients, inspectors examine the laboratory’s records and quality control of procedures for the preceding two years. CAP inspectors also examine laboratory staff qualifications, equipment, facilities, safety program and record, and overall management.
CAP accreditation is one of many firsts for the Aga Khan University Hospital, Nairobi.
In July 2003, the hospital became the first hospital in East Africa to be awarded the prestigious ISO 9001:2000 (now ISO 9001:2008) by the International Organization for Standardization, which is awarded to organisations that are found to conform fully to standards set for quality management systems.
In 2013 AKUH attained the coveted internationally recognised Joint Commission International accreditation that is recertified every three years, a first in East and Central Africa, affirming the hospital’s commitment to achieve is its vision as the leading teaching and tertiary healthcare institution in sub-Saharan Africa.
he Aga Khan University hosted “Rays of Light”, a multi-dimensional exhibition dedicated to celebrating 60 years of His Highness the Aga Khan’s efforts in serving humanity, in Pakistan for the first time.
The exhibition, first inaugurated in Paris in 2008, is a unique, experiential journey showcasing the work of The Aga Khan and the Aga Khan Development Network’s contribution to human development.
Driven by the ethics of his faith and the Imam’s hereditary responsibility to improve the quality of life for his community and for those amongst whom they live, the Aga Khan has been at the forefront of innovation in development for over 60 years. He is Founder and Chairman of the Aga Khan Development Network (AKDN), one of the most comprehensive development networks in the world today. The AKDN operates in over 30 countries principally in Central and South Asia, Eastern and Western Africa and the Middle East.
Over the past six decades, the Aga Khan has transformed the quality of life for millions of people around the world. In the areas of health, education, cultural revitalisation, and economic empowerment, he has worked to inspire excellence and improve living conditions and opportunities in some of the world’s most remote and troubled regions.
The exhibition, which has been viewed to-date by over 100,000 people around the world, features over 250 powerful visuals in an immersive, multi-media interactive format using of technology such as virtual reality and other forms.
Scholars, art enthusiasts, business leaders and members of civil society attended the exhibit at The Aga Khan University in Karachi.
Celebrating the transformative power of generosity
Sept 2018 - A panel discussion with AKU’s leadership including Trustees Princess Zahra Aga Khan and Naguib Kheraj, President Rasul and Provost Amrhein, on the university’s future growth, and its aspirations to become a liberal arts institution.
AKU breaks ground on a new research building for women and child health
The Aga Khan University celebrated the groundbreaking of a new Centre of Excellence in Women and Child Health (CoEWCH) building on its Stadium Road campus today.
The new 149,000-square-foot building will consolidate the role of the CoEWCH as a focal point for the University’s research and policy advocacy efforts that aim to generate new insights into Pakistan’s interconnected health challenges in support of national development priorities for women and child health.
“The Centre will be the first of its kind in low and middle income countries,” said Professor Zulfiqar Bhutta, founding director of the CoEWCH and co-director of the SickKids Centre for Global Child Health in Toronto, at the groundbreaking ceremony. “It will enable us to expand and enhance the University’s study of the social determinants that shape and impact the well-being of children and women: the underlying conditions in which people are born, grow, live and work.”
The CoEWCH brings together experts from the fields of medicine, public health, liberal arts, nursing and education and provides training opportunities on priority issues related to women and children.
AKU graduates challenged to impact their communities
Teachers and nurses are crucial to Tanzania’s development.
Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, 6 February 2019 - Aga Khan University (AKU) has affirmed its commitment to continue contributing to Tanzania’s social economic development through the provision of high quality education for teachers and nurses.
The commitment was made during the university’s 14th convocation ceremony held at the Diamond Jubilee Hall in Dar es Salaam. A total of 39 students were conferred degrees: 26 received Master’s degrees in Education while 13 were awarded Bachelor of Science in Nursing degrees.
“Every day, AKU is improving quality of life for the people of Tanzania, and helping government to meet its health and education goals,” AKU President Firoz Rasul said. “We are working hard to develop a new Diploma in Education to support the government’s goal of up skilling primary school teachers.”
Since inception in Tanzania, the Aga Khan University has graduated over 3,000 students, who have proceeded to become leaders in their professions and role models in their communities. Nurses trained at the Aga Khan University attend to more than 500,000 patients across the country. In Mwanza, the University is collaborating with government facilities and fellow agencies of the Aga Khan Development Network to improve healthcare for more than 700,000 women and children.
Aga Khan University hailed as a centre of excellence
Uganda government applauds AKU’s role in quality education and healthcare.
Kampala, Uganda, 9 February 2019 - Ninety-four students have been awarded degrees in various disciplines by the Aga Khan University (AKU) at its 16th convocation ceremony in Uganda.
A total of 31 graduands were awarded diplomas in nursing, while another 31 were conferred Bachelor of Science in Nursing degrees. A further 12 graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Midwifery and 20 were awarded a Master of Education degree.
Uganda’s State Minister for Higher Education, Dr. John Muyingo, the chief guest at the ceremony in Kampala, applauded AKU for its quality education.
“AKU has always produced quality students. I have all the confidence that these graduates will be quality leaders in the country. I urge each of you to exercise the value of service above self in your respective professions,” he said.
The University has graduated 800 nurses and midwives to date and today’s convocation comes ahead of the University’s plans to expand its programmes in Uganda and to construct a new hospital in Kampala. Both initiatives will transform the country’s healthcare system by introducing an expanded range of medical disciplines while a Patient Welfare Programme will ensure high quality healthcare is accessible to low-income patients.
“We as the government of Uganda appreciate the continuous support from the Aga Khan University to provide quality healthcare as well,” Hon. Muyingo said, “the hospital will be an important resource in this country that will position Uganda as a destination for medical tourism in the region.”
AKU President Firoz Rasul said, “The teaching hospital will educate outstanding health professionals who will elevate the quality of care across the country and enable research that delivers new solutions to Uganda’s most important health challenges.”
ALEX AWITI: Great teachers equal quality education
It has been many decades since I completed high school and graduated from university. I remember very little of what I was taught in the classroom and the lecture theatres. But don’t get me wrong, those formative years have shaped me.
I remember some of my teachers and professors. I still remember my primary school English language teacher. I also remember my primary school teacher of history and civics. Two of my high school teachers of biology are unforgettable. The teachers who taught me religious studies, history and chemistry were brilliant too.
Three of the professors who taught me advanced ecology, genetics and freshwater ecology were absolutely outstanding. They, more than anybody else in my life, influenced the career choices I made. I was also lucky to have on my PhD committee world-class ecology professors, I mean absolutely clever.
When I look back at my school days — from primary school through to my PhD studies — my great teachers and professors bring back happy memories of my education experience. These men and women were not just brilliant educators, they were kind. They loved what they did. They loved the students they taught.
We were, I believe, the reason they laboured for long hours. And most of all they believed in us, the students. And we loved them back. A majority of the students worked extremely hard. We believed to fail was to let down our teachers and professors. It was no longer teachers or professors and students. We were on the same team.
The common thread that runs throughout my experience and memory of my teachers and professors is the passion, the indomitable zeal they brought to the subjects and courses they taught. Their passion was contagious. Their emotional connection with the students was palpable.
These great educators brought excitement, delight and joy to learning. Conversely, the not-so-great teachers and professors evoked fear and frustration, dread and worry. For the not-so-great teachers and professors, it was never about the students. It was about them and how quickly they wanted to get over with the lesson. Their attitude was contagious too. I did not like them as individuals. I did not like their subjects or courses. I tolerated them. I persevered through their classes.
Cognitive scientists like Antonio Damasio have shown there is a connection between emotions and learning. Our emotions allocate value to things — what to pay attention to, what to learn and what to remember. And most of all, we learn best and deeply from those we like or those who make us feel they care for us.
The great teachers and professors who formed me present a basis for thinking about teacher attributes. They were absolutely brilliant, their academic abilities were superb. They were extremely hard working. They were passionate about teaching and were deeply committed to their students.
With great teachers every student, regardless of their socioeconomic background, can receive quality education, right from kindergarten to the highest level. Investing in good teachers is imperative.
Alex O Awiti is the Vice Provost and director of the East Africa Institute at Aga Khan University
Efforts on for shorter treatment regime to defeat TB in Pakistan
KARACHI: Pakistan is set to become part of international efforts to develop a shorter treatment regime to defeat tuberculosis, currently the world’s largest infectious killer, claiming an estimated 4,900 lives daily.
The eight countries which account for 60 per cent of new TB cases are: India, Indonesia, China, Nigeria, Pakistan, South Africa, the Philippines and Bangladesh.
These points were raised during a lecture delivered by Dr Amina Jindani, honorary senior lecturer at St George’s University of London, held at the Aga Khan University (AKU) on Wednesday.
A leading specialist, Dr Jindani has been involved with clinical trials of tuberculosis since the 1960s, when she coordinated the first East African/British Medical Research Council trial of short-course chemotherapy in Africa.
The Cabinet Secretary for Education, Hon. Dr. Amina Mohamed has challenged academic institutions to increase their intake in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) courses.
Speaking during the 15th convocation ceremony of the Aga Khan University (AKU) Dr. Mohamed said this will help bridge the unemployment gap by equipping students with practical skills that can help in entrepreneurship.
Sixty-eight graduates were awarded degrees in various disciplines: 13 graduated with a Diploma in Oncology Nursing, 24 with a Bachelor of Science in Nursing, 18 with a Master of Medicine and 13 with a Master of Education degree.
AKU has awarded more than 1,200 degrees and diplomas in Kenya and more than 3,000 in East Africa. The university’s professional development programmes have equipped another 900 Kenyan educators with new strategies for enhancing teaching and learning, thus benefitting 67,000 students.
Two teachers were also awarded the Alumni Leadership for Education by Aga Khan University (AKU). Dr Anthony Maina Gioko, the vice principal for Professional Development and Outreach at the Aga Khan Academy in Mombasa, and Elijah Ogoti, a teacher at Saint Theresa Tartar Girls School in West Pokot County, were recognised for their outstanding leadership in teaching. Both are graduates of AKU’s Institute for Educational Development. ​
The convocation ceremony was attended by the graduating students, their parents, faculty and staff members.
University of Washington and Aga Khan University sign agreement to further population health, research, service and education
Seattle, USA, 4 March 2019 - The University of Washington today signed a memorandum of understanding with the Aga Khan University to codify partnership activities already underway and to leverage complementary strengths to further expand research, service and education in low- and middle-income countries.
The agreement was signed by UW President Ana Mari Cauce and Aga Khan University President Firoz Rasul. Representing the Aga Khan Development Network were Prince Rahim Aga Khan and Princess Salwa Aga Khan, nee Kendra Spears, UW Class of ‘12, and AKU Provost Carl Amrhein. The Princess played a key role in encouraging the nascent partnership.
“We are honoured to partner with Aga Khan University to advance the health and well-being of communities around the globe. By combining our respective strengths and shared values, we can be a powerful force for creating access to healthcare and education, as well as supporting research and discovery,” Cauce said.
Early collaborative activities between UW and AKU have included the launch of a paid international internship programme with positions in Africa and Asia for UW students, joint projects to build research capacity in HIV/AIDs and HPV, and a range of other faculty collaborations.
Aga Khan University and Fred Hutch join in global collaboration
The organisations signed a memorandum of understanding to collaborate on prevention, diagnosis, treatment of cancer and related diseases.
Seattle, USA, 6 March 2019 - The Aga Khan University and Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center today expressed their shared commitment in working together to improve the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of cancer and related diseases in low- and middle-income countries.
President Firoz Rasul of Aga Khan University and President and Director of Fred Hutch, Dr. Gary Gilliland, signed a memorandum of understanding which aims to foster joint international scientific research projects, training programmes in clinical care, laboratory and clinical research programmes and infrastructure development in low- and middle-income settings, primarily in East Africa.
Prince Rahim and Princess Salwa Aga Khan, Dr. Carl Amrhein, Provost & Vice President, Academic for Aga Khan University and leaders from both organisations joined President Rasul and Dr. Gilliland for a signing ceremony at Fred Hutch’s Seattle campus. The group also visited the labs of Dr. Edus “Hootie” Warren, head of Global Oncology at Fred Hutch, and Dr. Stan Riddell, scientific director of Fred Hutch’s Immunotherapy Integrated Research Center.
“Cancer is a global problem that requires global cooperation to deliver new diagnostics and treatments that will save lives around the world,” Rasul said. “We are proud to be partnering with Fred Hutch, a world leader in cancer research and care, to tackle one of the biggest challenges in global health today.”
Aisha Sethi: An Aga Khan University alumnus works for global health
Born in the United States and educated in Pakistan, Aisha Sethi graduated from the Aga Khan University (AKU) in 1999, after completing its Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery programme. The same year, she travelled to the US as a visiting medical student for two months of electives, and subsequently received a National Institutes of Health dermatology research fellowship from her host university, Yale. “At Yale, I was thrown into an international, high-performance setting, arriving right after my AKU graduation. But AKU had prepared me well and I felt very blessed.”
After completing her research fellowship, Aisha was accepted into the Yale Dermatology Residency Programme. As a resident, she pursued her aspirations to develop a deeper understanding of tropical medicine. Infectious and tropical diseases fascinated Aisha, and since learning early on as an AKU undergraduate that they presented first on the skin, she wanted to use dermatology as an entry point to address these global health challenges.
In late 2005, for her final year of residency elective, Aisha visited East Africa for the first time and saw AKU labs all over Kenya and Tanzania. She was proud of the widespread community health care being provided by her alma mater. But during her few months based at a dermatology training centre in Moshi, Tanzania, she saw just how badly the region needed dermatologists.
Aga Khan University celebrates partnerships in Lisbon
At a special dinner hosted in Lisbon on 13 April 2019, the Aga Khan University (AKU) celebrated its partnership with Portuguese universities on research and development initiatives. The event was attended by Mawlana Hazar Imam and Princess Zahra.
The AKU Board of Trustees welcomed representatives from Portugal’s Ministry of Science, Technology, and Higher Education; the Catholic University of Portugal; Nova University of Lisbon; and leaders of the Jamat and Aga Khan Development Network. The evening included a keynote address by Carlos Moedas, the European Commissioner for Research, Science and Innovation.
Video: Aga Khan University celebrates partnerships in Lisbon
The Aga Khan University's Board of Trustees welcomed representatives from Portugal’s government, Higher Education institutions, and leaders of the Jamat and Aga Khan Development Network to a special event in Lisbon on 13 April 2019.
Childhood Cancer: Global Children's Research Hospital Teams Up With Specialist Centres In Pakistan
KARACHI: Childhood cancer care in Pakistan stands to improve as US-based St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, a global leader in children’s cancer care and research, launches a series of partnerships aimed at enhancing the standard of oncology services in the country.
St Jude’s Global has built a network of regional partnerships spanning over 50 countries to promote self-sufficiency and the sharing of knowledge, skills and best practices in paediatric cancer under a US$100 million initiative.
A memorandum of understanding in Pakistan has been signed by Doctor Carlos Rodriquez Galindo, executive director at St Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital, and Doctor Adil Haider, dean of AKU’s medical college, at a ceremony on Tuesday.
“The majority of children in the developing world still lose their lives to cancers that can be effectively treated,” said Dr Galindo. “No child should die in the prime of their life and our partnerships with institutions like AKU will play a crucial role in realising our goal of enhancing paediatric cancer survival rates around the world.”
As a member of St. Jude Global’s alliance, AKU’s healthcare professionals and researchers will benefit from a range of capacity building, research and knowledge-sharing initiatives aimed at strengthening Pakistan’s child cancer health system and at developing patient-centered initiatives across the continuum of care.
“When she gave birth, Grace could not believe it,” Agnes recalls. “She was shaking. Whenever she touched her baby, she was very careful not to hurt him to the extent that she couldn’t sleep. We had to counsel her, to take her through what to do to take care of her baby before she finally calmed down.”
“As midwives we must try as much as possible to help mothers think positively about solutions and to consistently check up on them after discharge.”
Moments like these make a career as a midwife truly meaningful to Agnes, noting that the profession brings “double happiness” by enriching the life of the mother and her family.
Agnes graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in midwifery in 2018 from the Aga Khan University School of Nursing and Midwifery in East Africa. She has worked as a nurse and midwife for over 16 years and is currently practicing at the Mulago Kawempe Hospital, one of Uganda’s large state-funded hospitals.
Earning this degree in midwifery was a turning point in Agnes’s career.
“My education taught me how to run a neonatal unit,” Agnes says. “Today, I’m always consulted when care plans are made and the degree has given me the confidence to pass my knowledge on to other medical students. I always tell my younger colleagues that midwifery is a profession that requires skills, knowledge and a loving heart to give care.”
Loveluck currently works as a full-time lecturer at the Aga Khan University School of Nursing and Midwifery (AKU-SONAM), Dar es Salaam campus. She teaches midwifery courses as well as some nursing units. What she finds most fulfilling in her work is seeing students who enjoy learning and transforming their ways of thinking and practice:
“This demonstrates growth in professional competence and confidence, moving from theory to practice by providing evidence-based care to clients. Also, discussions in post-clinical conferences where students share their ‘Aha!’ moments, their achievements, frustrations and how they managed the hurdles are simply rewarding for me. From a maternity care perspective, seeing women receive care from qualified, competent midwives in a respectful and dignified manner is what makes me happy.”
AKU/Nova Symposium tackles ethics in stem cell research
Lisbon, Portugal, 13 June 2019 - New discoveries in stem cell research have raised the hope among scientists that there will be breakthrough cures for common diseases ranging from heart disease to diabetes, but new ethical and regulatory questions have surfaced, according to experts at a symposium co-hosted by Nova University and the Aga Khan University (AKU).
Stem cells can be used to halt or even reverse chronic diseases by repairing or replacing tissues or organs. A good example is bone marrow transplantation, which is used for treating certain blood and immune system disorders. Some bone, skin and eye injuries and diseases can be treated by grafting or implanting tissues.
“Since these cells offer a tremendous hope for alleviating human suffering, researchers, industry and multicultural societies need to be on the same page with agreed-upon regulatory policy and guidelines that ensure ethical activities, transparency and best practice,” said Professor Arnold Kriegstein, founding director of the Eli and Edythe Broad Center of Regenerative Medicine and Stem Cell Research at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF).
Although there has been an amazing progress in stem cell science during the last 10 years, most of the advances lead to ethical challenges, said Dr Azim Surani, director of Germline and Epigenomics Research. “For example, if a heritable monogenic disease can be treated, should we use gene editing or not? These are the questions that society needs to address.”
The new ethical questions relate to extending the culture of surplus human embryos generated for in-vitro fertilisation or test-tube babies, generating gametes (reproductive cells) and artificial embryos from stem cells, making animal-human chimeras, and genetically editing the human embryo.
There is also the rising tide of victims - unsuspecting subjects of risky experimentation or unproven or fraudulent treatments. Professor Timothy Caulfield, research director at the Health Law Institute, University of Alberta, calls this “scienceploitation”: “Now you see stem cell, genetic, and increasingly, microbiome research being exploited to sell a host of ridiculous products,” he said.
While ”scienceploitation” has been taking place for years in wealthy countries - and is increasing - the same is now true in the developing world. Ironically, countries with high poverty rates stand to benefit the most from ethically responsible progress in the field, said Professor El-Nasir Lalani, founding director of AKU’s Centre for Regenerative Medicine and Stem Cell Research. “It would be unethical if equal access to new therapies were not possible in developing countries at the outset.”
“Humanity must come to grips with the host of new discoveries and immense opportunity this presents,” said Professor Lalani. “Now we as a global community are tasked with making sure this doesn’t become a runaway train leaving behind the ethical considerations. To stop the train completely would also be unethical, as the hope for breakthrough cures from stem cell research is greater than ever.”
Professor Lalani also spoke about building a research capacity partnership between AKU and UCSF in the development of a comprehensive and integrated research programme in stem cell biology and regenerative medicine. “Being a research-led University,” he said. “we believe that investing in stem cell research is a step forward toward achieving the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals.”
More on the event website.
MoU between Nova and AKU:
On the occasion, the Nova University Rector Joăo Sŕágua and the Aga Khan University President Firoz Rasul signed a Memorandum of Understanding to facilitate collaboration in a variety of areas, including health sciences, humanities and social sciences, and media and communications. They expressed their commitment to foster and strengthen the partnership in order to improve the quality of life of vulnerable populations, to advance knowledge through cutting-edge research, and to promote international and cross-cultural cooperation and understanding.
KARACHI: The Aga Khan University (AKU) won the two-day long All Pakistan Medical Quiz competition organised by the students’ council of Jinnah Sindh Medical University (JSMU).
A total of 16 teams of medical students from universities all over Pakistan participated in the first round that saw AKU, Dow University of Health Sciences (DUHS), Jinnah Medical and Dental College and Liaquat University of Medical and Health Sciences reach the semi-finals.
On the second day, AKU and DUHS reached the final which the AKU team won after a tough fight.
AKU’s Daniyal Aamir and Kamlesh Mahesh lifted the shield.
In his brief speech, Vice Chancellor of JSMU Prof S.M. Tariq Rafi congratulated the winning team and urged students to participate more in such healthy competitions that help in personality development.
Dr Fowzia Siddiqui of AKU, Dr Ahmer of Civil Hospital Burns Centre and Dr Saqib Ansari of National Institute of Blood Diseases served as judges.
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