Professor Zulfiqar Bhutta, of Aga Khan University (AKU) and The Hospital for Sick Children (SickKids), has been awarded the 2021 Roux Prize, a US$100,000 award for turning evidence into health impact. He is the founding director of the Centre of Excellence in Women and Child Health and the Institute for Global Health and Development at AKU; and Co-Director of the SickKids Centre for Global Child Health, Inaugural Robert Harding Chair in Global Child Health and Policy, and a Senior Scientist in the Child Health Evaluative Sciences programme at SickKids. His work has made an integral contribution to global policy to improve maternal, fetal and newborn health.
The Roux Prize is administered by the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) at the University of Washington and is funded by founding board member David Roux​ and his wife, Barbara. Launched in 2013, it is the world’s largest award for evidence-based public health achievement and has drawn nominations from across the globe.
“Professor Bhutta has had a tremendous impact on maternal and child health, as a researcher and a leader,” said Dave and Barbara Roux. “We are thrilled to honor his incredible work and commitment to reducing health inequities.”
Professor Bhutta’s work has focused on newborn and child survival and undernutrition, with a particular emphasis on reducing health disparities and reaching underserved populations, including health care in conflict settings and humanitarian emergencies. He has played a crucial role in developing global consensus on interventions to address undernutrition in mothers and children, with publications that have informed World Health Organization (WHO) policy and global funding priorities. With his research team, he published guidance to prevent stillbirths and improve newborn survival that now is a core part of the global Every Newborn Action Plan.
“Professor Bhutta has been at the forefront of generating relevant evidence for public health policies in low- and middle-income countries,” said Soumya Swaminathan, Chief Scientist at WHO. “He is one of a handful of people globally who have successfully conducted large randomized controlled trials, which have resulted in changes in policy and practice, leading to significant improvements in health outcomes.”
Professor Bhutta was one of the first AKU faculty, and since beginning his career there in 1986, has managed to build a research programme on maternal and child health and nutrition with national and global impact, despite the challenges of political turmoil and economic insecurity in the country.
Between 1996 and 2002, he undertook a community outreach and research programme in an urban slum of Karachi and several rural areas of Pakistan, and for the past 15 years he has collaborated with the government of Pakistan to assess effectiveness of health care in real-world settings through partnering with public sector community health workers.
Many of these large community-based cluster randomized trials led by Professor Bhutta have generated findings that changed global policy, most notably the finding that using chlorhexidine for cord care among home births was associated with significant reduction in the risk of neonatal sepsis and death, and that public sector community health workers could successfully work with communities to reduce perinatal mortality. His team also worked with community health workers in tribal areas of Pakistan to improve polio and routine immunization coverage.
“Dr Bhutta is a powerhouse of knowledge,” said Dr Adil Haider, Dean of the Medical College at Aga Khan University. “His contribution to the field of medicine and research as a whole is invaluable, with his exceptional work having phenomenal impact not just at the Aga Khan University, but across Pakistan and truly around the globe. It has been an absolute pleasure getting to work alongside him, learning from him, and marveling at his zeal and determination. He strives for excellence in everything he does, and I cannot think of anyone more deserving of this prestigious award.”
Professor Bhutta has taken on unique joint appointments at SickKids and the SickKids Centre for Global Child Health, in addition to his role with AKU. He has succeeded in creating strong international collaborations and growing support for research on maternal and child health, and currently leads a consortium of 14 academic centers worldwide focused on improving health care in areas affected by conflict.
“Dr Bhutta is one of the world’s foremost experts in child and maternal health and nutrition studies, whose contributions have led to direct and significant impact on health care and policy in communities worldwide,” said Dr Stephen Scherer, Chief of Research at SickKids. “SickKids is proud to be home to Dr Bhutta’s groundbreaking translational research, which not only exemplifies our vision of ‘Healthier Children. A Better World,’ but continues to have a profound impact in science and in the lives of people around the world.”
Professor Bhutta is a designated Distinguished National Professor of the Government of Pakistan and the co-Chair of the Maternal and Child Health oversight committee of the WHO’s Eastern Mediterranean Regional Office.
“Congratulations to Dr Bhutta for this important award and recognition for his contribution as an advocate, a researcher and a passionate practitioner on maternal and child health and nutrition,” said Dr Ahmed Al Mandhari, WHO Regional Director for the Eastern Mediterranean Region. “His striving to translate data to information and his operational research into policy and best practices, from Pakistan to global-level commissions, is commendable as he brings in tremendous value reflecting priorities and challenges from the field programmes level, clinical practice and community-based projects in addition to his commitment to polio eradication efforts in our region.”
“Professor Zulfiqar Bhutta is one of the outstanding child health researchers of his generation,” said Richard Horton, editor-in-chief of The Lancet. “His work on child survival and nutrition has shaped international policy and practice for two decades. He has built a world-class team of child health scientists in Pakistan, conducted groundbreaking primary research to advance children’s health, and used that evidence to provide a rigorous and reliable foundation for advocacy and action. He richly deserves the recognition provided by the Roux Prize.”
The Roux Prize is intended for anyone who has applied health data and evidence in innovative ways to improve population health. Nominees may come from anywhere in the world and could include, but are not limited to, staff in government agencies, researchers at academic institutions, volunteers in charitable organizations, or health providers working in the community.
The Centre for Regenerative Medicine at Aga Khan University
The Aga Khan University – University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) partnership has begun a comprehensive and integrated research programme at AKU in stem cell biology and regenerative medicine.
The Centre for Regenerative Medicine is developing a cadre of stem cell scientists, clinicians, research associates, trainees and students under highest pedagogical, ethical, scientific and medical standards, working in a state of the art research centre in collaboration with colleagues at the Eli and Edythe Broad Center for Regeneration Medicine and Stem Cell Research at the University of California, San Francisco.
Professor El-Nasir M. A. Lalani
Director, Centre for Regenerative Medicine and Stem Cell Research
Aga Khan University, Karachi
Director, Eli and Edythe Broad Center for Regenerative Medicine and Stem Cell Research
Zakir Mahmood appointed Chairman, Board of Trustees
Mr Zakir Mahmood, the former President of Habib Bank Ltd, Pakistan’s largest bank, has been appointed Chairman of the Aga Khan University’s Board of Trustees by the University’s Chancellor, His Highness the Aga Khan. An AKU Trustee for the past nine years, Mr Mahmood is well-versed in AKU’s operations on three continents. In his message to the Trustees of the University, His Highness stated that “Mr Mahmood will bring to the Chair his profound experience in senior leadership roles, his extensive acumen in international institutional development and his thorough understanding of governance structures.”
Mr Mahmood takes over from internationally renowned health care leader Dr Haile T. Debas, whose seven-year tenure as Chairman was marked by growth in every aspect of AKU’s operations. “We are deeply grateful to Dr Debas for his leadership and service to the University,” AKU President Sulaiman Shahabuddin said. “An eminent surgeon, researcher, teacher and academic leader, and a passionate supporter of AKU’s mission, he made major contributions to its development throughout his 12 years on the Board of Trustees.” His Highness acknowledged that, “AKU owes Dr Debas a debt of gratitude that will be recognized for decades to come.”
A native of Eritrea, Dr Debas has held numerous leadership positions with the University of California, San Francisco and its School of Medicine, one of the world’s top medical schools. He was Founding Executive Director of UCSF Global Health Sciences, Dean of the School of Medicine, Vice Chancellor for Medical Affairs and Chancellor of UCSF. He is a member of the National Academy of Medicine, one of the highest honours in the field of health care.
Dr Debas was instrumental in developing AKU’s research capacity and overall teaching excellence by building partnerships with leading international institutions. The launch of AKU’s Centre for Regenerative Medicine and Stem Cell Research had much to do with his successful efforts to forge a unique partnership between AKU and experts at UCSF.
Mr Mahmood received his BE Engineering from NED University in Karachi and MBA and MS Engineering from the University of California, Los Angeles. He was President of Habib Bank Limited for almost 13 years, and has held senior positions with international banks in Ireland, the United Kingdom, Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates, France and Pakistan.
He is currently the Chairman of Kyrgyz Investment Credit Bank, Kyrgyzstan; First Microfinance Bank, Tajikistan; and Jubilee General Insurance, Pakistan. In 2001, the Government of France decorated him with the Chevalier de L’Ordre National du Mérite. In 2005, the Government of Pakistan honoured him with the prestigious Sitara-e-Imtiaz award.
“I look forward to working closely with Mr Zakir Mahmood to continue to advance the University’s efforts to improve people’s quality of life in Asia and Africa," President Shahabuddin said. “Chairman Mahmood brings to his new role a lifetime of international leadership experience, having held senior executive positions with multinational banks in Asia, the Middle East and Europe. We are fortunate to have him as Chairman.”
Kenyan breast surgeon to head regional cancer body
Aga Khan University Hospital Consultant Breast Surgeon and Oncologist Dr Miriam Mutebi. FILE PHOTO | NMG
Miriam Mutebi, the first female breast surgeon in Kenya, has been elected to lead the largest continental organisation that specialises in the promotion of cancer care and control.
She is the president-elect of the African Organization for Research and Training in Cancer (AORTIC), a Pan-African, multi-disciplinary organisation that builds capacity for cancer advocacy, research, and training in Africa.
Dr Mutebi, who is a breast surgical oncologist at Aga Khan University Hospital (AKUH), will serve a four-year term, two as president-elect and the rest as president.
After receiving the news on her election as president, Dr Mutebi could not hide his joy.
“I am deeply honoured to be elected by fellow oncology healthcare workers from across Africa, to lead the advocacy and research work on cancer. It is a wonderful time for cancer control in Africa,” she said.
“Through AORTIC and other initiatives, we now have a dedicated, enthusiastic, continental workforce along the entire cancer continuum.”
She outlined her plans moving forward: “I intend to help us leverage our collective strengths and connections to innovate and develop collaborative, region-appropriate, evidence-based, data-driven solutions that help us improve journeys for cancer patients in Africa and to address current gaps.”
The cancer expert has been involved in extensive research and in 2019 alongside Dr Radovan Boca also from AKUH, Dr Mutebi pioneered the introduction of, 'Deep Inferior Epigastric Perforator' (DIEP) flap in East Africa.
The procedure involves harvesting body tissue from a breast cancer patient who has had mastectomy (surgery to remove all breast tissue from a breast as a way to treat or prevent breast cancer), and making a new breast for them, offering hope to breast cancer survivors.
AWITI (Vice Provost of Aga Khan University): Wealthy nations have a moral obligation to finance low-carbon development pathways
- Somehow, countries can pollute their way out of poverty.
- Leaders of major African and Asian countries are enamoured by and seek to replicate China’s fossil-fuel-powered growth that is heavily reliant on the export of manufactured goods
AKU develops simulator for teaching cardiac procedures
The Newspaper's Staff ReporterPublished January 15, 2022
KARACHI: A senior cardiac and thoracic surgeon and his team at the Aga Khan University have invented a heart simulator which may go a long way in teaching resident doctors open-heart surgery and other related operations in much better conditions.
Dr Saulat Fatimi says since he presented the first prototype of pumping heart to Prince Karim Aga Khan, the AKU team’s aim was to develop such a simulator to teach residents procedures like coronary artery bypass, valve repair and replacements, surgeries for heart failure and congenital cardiac surgeries.
“Training residents on patients has been an international challenge and simulators in all specialties are the safest way to teach residents,” he said.
He added that the simulators in the market were artificial hearts or hearts which used pneumatic pumps to simulate beating. None could mimic the true heart mechanism and there was no fluid inside the heart to mimic blood. However, after years of failed and tiring attempts, “we are able to invent a beating heart system with magnetic pumps, fluid reservoir and timing device to produce systole and diastole in a cow’s heart”.
Dr Fatimi said it had been patented in the United States and they at the AKU were now ready to modify this to market it on a commercial basis. “Next step is to create heart cartridges with mitral and aortic valve diseases, septal defects, coronary artery lesions and other congenital cardiac problems. Our target market is university institutions with cardiac surgery residency programmes.”
You cannot post new topics in this forum You cannot reply to topics in this forum You cannot edit your posts in this forum You cannot delete your posts in this forum You cannot vote in polls in this forum