Family Care International: A systematic review of the interconnections between maternal & newborn health
APRIL 2012 - The health of a mother and her newborn are closely linked: most maternal and newborn deaths are caused by the poor health of the mother before or during pregnancy, or by poor quality care during and immediately after childbirth.
In close collaboration with researchers at Aga Khan University, Family Care International (FCI) undertook a program of work to highlight these interconnections and identify common advocacy messages to promote investment in and implementation of evidence-based interventions found to be beneficial to both women and newborns. A systematic review assessed recent and on-going research of the impact of potential interventions on maternal and newborn outcomes, with a particular emphasis on linkages between the two.
Building on the findings emerging from the systematic review (being prepared for publication in a peer-reviewed scientific journal later in 2012), FCI and Dr. Zulfiqar Bhutta of Aga Khan University developed core advocacy messages. These messages formed the basis of a set of advocacy materials for dissemination at key meeting and events:
An executive summary of the full research paper, in technical language for research/academic/medical audiences, including health care professionals, program managers, and academicians
A pocket card, designed for advocates and policymakers, that incorporates the review findings and key messages for non-technical audiences
In this interview, Daniel Muhau talks to Sameer Lakhani, the Aga Khan University – Tanzania Institute of Higher Education – head of marketing and continuing education about the ongoing Global Action Week, a worldwide annual campaign actively supported by Unesco and organised by the Global Campaign for Education (GCE) to raise awareness of the importance of Education for All:
Briefly, what is the Global Action Week all about?
It is an annual awareness-raising campaign on Education for All.
When was it launched?
On Sunday April 22, and it come to end on the 28th.
What is the main objective of this campaign?
To mobilise additional political and financial support for the achievement of the education for all goals. This year, the theme is on the ‘Right from the Start! Early Childhood Care and Education Now! Can you briefly explain its essence?
From the perspective and understanding of the Aga Khan University, ‘Right from the Start” accentuates the importance of doing the right thing from the beginning. In this context, the period of early childhood, which is from 0 – 8 years meaning from conception to the time the child is 8 years old is referred to the start. In the view of ensuring children are able to develop their potential to the fullest extent, it is crucial that attention and care is given to this period of the child’s life.
How is the Aga Khan University involved?
The AKU-IED based in Dar es Salaam aims to contribute to the socio-economic development in East Africa by improving the quality of education through human resource development, institutional capacity building, research and dissemination, policy analysis and advocacy. In East Africa it offers an exceptional Masters of Education programme and a Certificate in Education in various specialisms, including integrated Early Childhood Education and Development. As part of our strategy for growth we are also making a number of senior appointments one of which is in the area of early childhood education and development, a key addition to our existing portfolio in this specialist domain.
AKU-IED would like to be seen as one of the key institutions in the region for delivering quality education and research in the area of early childhood education.
AKU expert participates in the seminar: Dialogue on nutrition issues in Sindh
Thousands of children suffer from malnutrition: Experts
By Our Correspondent
Published: April 26, 2012
Rates of malnutrition in flood-affected areas of Sindh are worse than in some parts of sub-Saharan Africa, said Dr Mohammad Atif Habib, a senior research instructor at Aga Khan University Hospital, during a seminar on ‘Dialogue on nutrition issues in Sindh’ on Wednesday.
Religious scholars from Malaysia engage in fruitful dialogue on culture, ethics and diverse traditions
April 25, 2012
The Regent (and Crown Prince) of the Malaysian State of Perlis, Tuanku Syed
Faizuddin Putra, in his capacity as President of the Perlis State Islamic Council and Malay Customs Council, and Chancellor of Universiti Malaysia Perlis, led valuable discussions with academics at the Aga Khan University Institute for the Study of Muslim Civilisations (AKU-ISMC) in London.
The meeting, organised at the request of the Regent, the Perlis Fatwa Council and the Malaysian High Commission to the United Kingdom, was attended by Dr. Juanda Jaya, the Mufti of Perlis and Chairman of the Perlis Fatwa Council as well as other members of Council who included senior scholars from Universiti Sains Malaysia (USM) and the Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (UKM).
AKU-IED presses Sindh’s teachers to teach students about floods
By Our Correspondent
Published: April 30, 2012
Even though the teachers touched upon a plethora of flood-related issues but overlooked the problem of educating children in the affected areas. PHOTO: FILE
HYDERABAD: With the floods having struck Sindh consecutively for two years, it might be a good idea to teach students about floods and its causes, protective measures, relief and rehabilitation in schools.
The Aga Khan University Institute for Education Development (AKU-IED) organised an event called Save Pakistan from Floods, to encourage the science teachers of Sindh to teach their students about floods. Professional Teachers Association Network (PTAN) and Science Association of Pakistan (SAP) also collaborated with AKU-IED.
The teachers made cardboard models to demonstrate issues ranging from their causes to recommendations about dealing with the aftermath of floods. Others used power point, posters and charts to explain their suggestions.
According to Naheed Anwar of AKU-IED, the purpose of the event was to engage the science teachers in inquiry and research so that they could impart the knowledge to their students. “Although the subjects of flood and natural calamities are dealt with in science and social science subjects but the teachers are unable to relate the content with the recurring catastrophes,” she observed. A teacher from Dawood Memorial School in Tando Allah Yar, Fareeda Syed, made a cardboard model of villages hit by the floods last year. Her model demonstrated how the low-lying areas were vulnerable. She said that people built homes in these areas without giving a thought to the fact that it was flood plain and prone to getting inundated whenever the water level in the river rose. “Ignorance in the people about town planning, drainage and the general civic issues allowed the municipal and irrigation authorities to grow lazy,” she said. Her model recommended teaching the students town planning and civics subjects.
Farkhanda Rajput, who teaches in Himayatul Islam School, proposed constructing reservoirs and new canals in the province to store the water which spilled over from the rivers and canals for irrigation. With the help of maps, cardboard models of reservoirs and printed recommendations, she explained that another canal should be taken out from Jamrau Canal of Sanghar for irrigating the Thar Desert. “Given that Tharparkar is the world’s only fertile desert we need to use this opportunity bestowed upon us by nature,” she remarked. According to her model, the canal should end in Nangarparkar and it should be able to provide enough water for cultivating fields for at least three months.
Other scientific presentations studied the causes of floods, how the government’s negligence exacerbated the calamity, haphazard rescue and relief arrangements, lack of long-term planning for rehabilitation of people, businesses and agriculture.
Ahmed Rajput of Aga Khan School in Ameenabad, Hyderabad district, advocated greater financial assistance for humanitarian organisations working for providing relief to the flood-affected people. He believed that the government departments were ill equipped to respond effectively to disasters. For his presentation he had surveyed the work of different humanitarian organisations and he explained their performance with the help of newspaper clippings and charts.
According to Samia Ali of Government Girls High School in Hyderabad, the simplest and most cost effective way of preventing climatic disasters was planting more trees. “They are a natural defence against the raging waters.”
In contrast, Sahar Afshan, of Reflections School in Karachi, floated solutions like aquadams, aquafences and waterbags for lining the river and canal embankments. Even though they are expensive enough for a third world country, but she insisted that they be used sparsely where the flow of water was low.
Even though the teachers touched upon a plethora of flood-related issues but overlooked the problem of educating children in the affected areas.
AKU experts involved in the preparation of The Global Action Report on Preterm Birth.
Pakistan has the fourth highest number of preterm births in a year-748,100, to be precise-according to Born Too Soon: The Global Action Report on Preterm Birth.
The worldwide report was prepared by a group of 45 multidisciplinary experts from 26 international organisations, including the Aga Khan University. Preterm births account for more than one in 10 live births in the world, and 60 per cent of them take place in South Asia and sub-Saharan Africa.
Tuesday, 08 May 2012 15:24
KARACHI: The International Nurses Day and international Day of the Midwife would be marked on May 12.
The Aga Khan University's Division of Nursing Services would hold a ceremony to in this regard at its Auditorium on May 12, a spokesperson of the AKU said on Tuesday.
It was pointed out that the nurses and midwives around the world celebrate the International Day of the Midwife on May 5 and International Nurses Day on May 12 each year on Florence Nightingale's birthday to raise awareness about their respective roles in global health care.
The theme for this year's IDM- `The world needs midwives today more than ever', reaffirms the simple yet evident truth that midwives save lives.
Strengthening the role of midwifery and nursing has become essential for the global effort to tackle health care challenges, especially maternal, newborn and infant mortality, it was further stated.
Meanwhile, the theme for this year's IND- `Closing the gap: From Evidence to Action', reiterates the fact that nurses are constantly faced with challenges in finding ways of delivering best possible care.
They have a professional obligation to provide care that is grounded in new knowledge derived through research which is constantly reviewed and validated.
AKU expert participates in under-5 mortality study
The authors conclude: "Across all the previous and current rounds of causes of childhood death estimation, pneumonia and preterm birth complications consistently rank as the leading causes at the global level. Africa and southeast Asia are repeatedly the regions with the most deaths in children younger than 5 years. Our trend analysis shows that accelerated reductions are needed in the two major causes and in the two high-burden regions to achieve MDG4 by 2015."
In an accompanying Comment, Zulfiqar Bhutta from The Aga Khan University, Karachi, Pakistan says: "Too much emphasis has been placed in recent years on global numbers and mortality, and less on understanding the determinants and direction of trends. Annual diarrhoeal deaths in children might well have fallen to less than 800 000 during the past two decades, but these trends are mostly indicative of gains in large countries such as China, Brazil, and India…and the overall incidence of diarrhoeal disorders has hardly changed."
He adds: "Do mere numbers and proportions give sufficient detail about the causes of mortality…such as distribution of deaths by residence or indeed place of death? Estimations from a national mortality survey in 2006 in Pakistan suggest that more than two-thirds of all deaths in children younger than 5 years took place at home, the majority after seeing a health professional."
AKDN Institutions Successfully Test Cross-Border Teleconsultation Link
June 5, 2012
In an effort to expand eHealth services and bring quality healthcare to more people, the Aga Khan Development Network eHealth Resource Centre (AKDN eHRC), the Aga Khan Health Services (AKHS), Tajikistan and the French Medical Institute for Children (FMIC), Kabul have established a new eHealth setup in Khorog, Tajikistan.
On Friday, May 25, 2012, the AKDN eHRC conducted a successful test of a teleconsultation link between Khorog Oblast General Hospital and FMIC, and between Khorog Oblast General Hospital and the Aga Khan University, Karachi.
In preparation for this setup, a short training, “Telemedicine and mHealth: Concepts, Technology and Planning” was conducted at Khorog on May 16 and 17, 2012. The training was inaugurated by Dr Saidbek Davlatbekov, Director of Health, Gorno Badakshan Autonomous Oblast (GBAO), Tajikistan, and was attended by participants from the Ministry of Health, Khorog Oblast General Hospital, telecommunication companies and AKHS, Tajikistan.
The training focused on using telemedicine and mHealth to address the gaps in health systems and services, selection of different types of technologies and evaluation and application of programmes in Tajikistan and Afghanistan.
“There is need for online consultations to bridge gaps in health service delivery and provide quality healthcare to those in need. This training has enlightened us for newer ways to provide quality healthcare services to our community,” said Dr Pista Gadomamadova, Department of Health, Tajikistan.
Some district-level health facilities in the cross-border region of Gorno Badakshan in Tajikistan and Badakshan in Afghanistan will also be linked for consultations. Regular teleconsultations in the fields of surgery, paediatrics, cardiology and dermatology will begin in July 2012 followed by teleconsulations in pathology and radiology in August, 2012.
AKU conducts research on women teaching careers in the Northern Areas
Finding the pathway: women teachers’ aspirations in northern Pakistan
Authors: Dilshad Ashraf; Institute for Educational Development, Aga Khan University, Pakistan
Publisher: id21 Development Research Reporting Service, 2007
Full text of document
Women teachers face enormous cultural challenges in northern Pakistan. Research from the Aga Khan University explores women's experiences of trying to build teaching careers within this patriarchal society and looks at how they balance their multiple commitments.
After independence in 1947, girls’ education was seen as essential for teaching family responsibilities and preparing girls for traditionally female professions, such as teaching. However, the National Education Policy 1998-2010 now emphasises education equally as a right for girls and boys.
Interventions to increase girls' attendance at school included recruiting more female teachers between 1990 and 2000 (at primary level from 33.4 to 44.2 percent and at secondary level from 32 to 54.3 percent). While increases at secondary level are due to encouraging more women teachers in girls-only schools, growth at primary level can be associated with an increase in mixed-gender schools. Current government statistics from 2005 to 2006 show that nationally, women make up 36 percent of teachers in government-managed schools. Regional numbers are still lower, with 28 percent for the Northern Areas.
In the Northern Areas, teaching is recognised as the most appropriate off-farm employment opportunity for women because:
Women are usually appointed to schools within their own communities, reducing the chances of them interacting with men they are not related to.
Short school days allow women to fulfil their home-based responsibilities such as farming and cattle rearing in the early morning and afternoons.
Teaching, particularly at primary and middle school levels, is seen to fit in with women’s nurturing family roles.
The research reveals tensions between family commitments and professional aspirations. Women usually take up teaching as it can fit around family duties. Yet it is often other family members who resist women’s attempts at professional development and prevent them from working away from home.
Some women manage to negotiate their dual roles, for example, by contributing their teaching salary to the household income, reducing the dependency on family cattle and using weekends to complete bigger farming tasks.
Women also find it hard to assume leadership roles in schools. Professional challenges they face include:
unsupportive workplace and organisational structures, such as resistance to female leadership and the absence of childcare or transport facilities
male-oriented school leadership practices
regional education offices located too far from schools for women to visit easily
weekend management committee meetings.
Teacher training, educational leadership and management courses alone cannot ensure women teachers’ full participation in school life. Strategies need to support women in schools on several levels, for example:
School authorities should be prepared to make women teachers’ families better aware of the importance and value of career development.
School meetings and training activities should take place in physically and culturally accessible locations.
Establishing women teacher and female education leader networks could encourage women to link up with their peers in nearby communities.
Government-led teacher education programmes need to include time and space for male and female teachers to reflect on and share their experiences.
Education management courses must include a gender awareness component.
Aga Khan University students Display Superior Performance
July 13, 2012 PNR Team No comments
Karachi, July 13, 2012 (PPI-OT): Aga Khan University Examination Board today announced its annual Higher Secondary School Certificate (HSSC) results. This year, 21 per cent more candidates sat for the exam as compared to last year. The overall pass rate for this year’s HSSC I and II exams was 77.79 and 79.27 per cent respectively.
Anum Zehra Raza of Aga Khan Higher Secondary School, Karimabad, Karachi with 91 per cent marks secured first position; second position went to Hafsa Jawed of Habib Public High School (Girls), Karachi with 90.82 per cent marks while Adil Shah of Aga Khan Higher Secondary School, Gahkuch, Gilgit-Baltistan with 90.18 per cent marks secured the third position.
According to a recent survey conducted by AKU-EB, 76 per cent of its alumni were placed into renowned universities across Pakistan and internationally, a considerable increase from last year. In fact, international placements of AKU-EB alumni in 2011 saw a drastic increase of 183 per cent, almost three times the 2010 figure. The survey further revealed that 145 local institutions granted admission to AKU-EB alumni.
“AKU-EB works to groom our personalities and does not force us to just learn the syllabus and be done with it. It has improved my self-confidence, understanding and the way I try to learn about anything in my environment.
I am so thankful to the Board for opening up my mind and giving me an opportunity to explore the world from a new perspective. AKU-EB is just necessary,” says Raaza Malja, currently enrolled at King Edward Medical College, Lahore – a bright student and position holder from AKU-EB both in SSC and HSSC.
CHITRAL, July 15: Teachers are the agents of change in any society as they bring about social transformation or revolution in a positive way, according to Professional Development Centre (PDC) of the Aga Khan University in Chitral director Dr Mir Afzal Tajik.
He was speaking at the concluding ceremony of a six-month training course for teachers of public and private sector schools here the other day.
Dr Tajik said training was imparted to teachers by adopting innovative approach with a special emphasis on practice instead of theory so that they could be able to see and experience local issues in their real perspective.
He asked trainees to take all stakeholders along to achieve the goal of quality education and use their skills to concentrate and unify their efforts without which no tangible change was possible.
Executive district officer of education Siraj Mohammad, who was the chief guest on the occasion, regretted passive response of the heads of government schools towards improvement of the quality of education in their educational institutions.
“A principal of private sector school drawing Rs15,000 per month excels far better than the one heading a government school whose monthly salary runs into six digits,” he said.
Mr Siraj shed light on the efforts taken by his department during the last one and a half years for the promotion of education and said it was an uphill task for him to reform the system and put government schools on right track.
He said more than 75,000 students were enrolled in public sector schools and it was his utmost duty to ensure a bright future for them.
The EDO claimed that the blatant use of unfair means in examinations had been controlled to a large extent.
Regional programme manager of Hashoo Foundation of the Aga Khan Foundation Sultan Mehmud Khan, who was also in attendance, said it was quality education which alone could the nation to progress and prosperity and the holding of workshops on innovative ways of teaching was a step towards it.
He lauded the role of the Aga Khan University in imparting modern training to teachers in Chitral.
Later, certificates were distributed to trainees, who included 16 female and 22 male teachers. They were selected for courses in education leadership and management, and primary education.
At AKU board, students excel without rote learning
AKU-EB celebrates its high achievers at annual ‘Passing the Torch’ awards.
By Kulsum Ebrahim
Published: July 19, 2012
Zubaida Farooq, the mother of Sheharyar Farooq who placed third in the SCC examinations, was beaming with pride at her son’s achievement being celebrated at the Passing of the Torch student awards ceremony held at the Aga Khan University Examination Board (AKU-EB) on July 18. “He is our youngest, and the first to hold a position.”
The second annual Passing the Torch ceremony celebrated students who attained distinctions in the Secondary School Certificate (SSC) and Higher Secondary School Certificate (HSSC). It was a literal ‘passing the torch’ ceremony as position holders from the previous year handed out certificates to this year’s top performers to highlight the transfer of knowledge and responsibility. The AKU-EB is a Federal Board of Intermediate and Secondary Education that was founded in 2003, offering examination services for SSC and HSSC across Pakistan and abroad.
AKU-EB Director Dr Thomas Christie congratulated the achievers, lauding their “sparkling performances.”
He said that it was commendable to see people from the Northern Areas also perform so well in the examinations. “This is the case of young people who have the grit and determination to succeed!”
Christie said he was “eager to see a trend towards a more thoughtful approach in which students were not simply absorbing the subject matter, but challenging it.”
In the SSC examinations, Syed Wahaj Ahmed of Shahwilayat Public School, Karachi took the first position, Sadaf Batool Rizvi of Al Murtaza School, Karachi came in second, and the third place was shared by Zehra Hussaini of Habib Girls School, and Sheharyar Farooq of Sultan Muhammad Shah Aga Khan School.
In the HSSC exams, Anum Zehra Raza of Aga Khan Higher Secondary School, Karachi was awarded the first position, Hafsa Jawed of Habib Public High School (Girls), Karachi snagged second place, and Adil Shah of the Aga Khan Higher Secondary School in Gahkuch, Gilgit Baltistan came in third.
Zehra Nizar, an AKU-EB alum who is currently studying at the Aga Khan University Medical College, spoke at the event. Nizar said it was a heart-warming experience to give away the awards, recalling her own joy when she was awarded third position for the HSSC in 2011. She said that the AKU-EB is unique in the sense that “the pattern of learning facilitates understanding, promotes conceptualisation, and negates rote-learning.” She explained the ceremony as a “symbol for passing on enlightenment.”
Hafsa Jawed, who clinched the second position in HSSC also emphasised the lack of rote-learning in these examinations. “A-Levels students say that their exams are difficult, but 50% of their questions are from past papers. In the AKU-EB, a question is never repeated.”
Sadaf Batool, who got the second position in the SCC exams, said that the syllabus was extremely lengthy and heavy on reading. “These exams are very difficult compared to the Sindh Board examinations because you have to read, understand and absorb knowledge.” Batool began studying for the exams last August, saying that her parents pushed her to strive to achieve a position. “The most important thing that helped me study was daily recitation of the Quran.”
Anum Zehra, who held the first position in HSSC, said she did her studying at night when her family was asleep. “I never took any tuition. My parents always helped me study.” She said that the AKU-EB is a transparent system and one can be sure about the results.
Since she wants to become a doctor, Anum Zehra believes the AKU-EB fully prepared her to sit for medical school entrance examinations. “The aptitude test for entrance to medical schools matches the conceptual pattern of AKU-EB exams,” she said.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 19th, 2012.
Read more, eat healthy and exercise daily to keep Alzheimer’s away’
Psychiatric symptoms may include agitation, lack of sleep and aggressive behaviour.
By Our Correspondent
Published: September 20, 2012
KARACHI: A healthy diet and regular visits to the gym are known to ward off obesity and heart diseases, but along with an ‘active’ brain, they can also prevent Alzheimer’s disease.
People who engage in reading, playing board games, completing crossword puzzles and other intellectual activities, are less likely to develop the disease, said members of the Pakistan Society of Neurology at a press conference on Wednesday.
Dr Muhammad Wasay, the associate professor at the Aga Khan University Hospital’s (AKUH) department of neurology, said that Alzheimer’s or dementia is a neurological disease which is characterised by progressive loss of memory and social functioning.
According to the doctors, the press conference was organised because people are still not aware of the disease even though it is increasing globally. Even the general practitioners cannot catch the symptoms sometimes as they do not have sufficient information about the disorder, said Dr Wasay.
Exact data about how many patients have been diagnosed is not available in Pakistan, said Prof. Saad Shafqat, the head of neurology department at AKUH. “We can still estimate that Pakistan has the same number as India and Iran, where almost 7 per cent people above the age of 65 and around 10 to 15 per cent above the age of 80 have dementia.” But people should not make the mistake of associating the disease with ageing, clarified Shafqat.
The society plans to arrange a walk on Friday followed by a Continuing Medical Education seminar for doctors. The doctors have also recorded an 11-episode programme which will be aired on TV and posted on YouTube.
Symptoms and treatment
The inability to remember day-to-day activities are one of the early on signs of Alzheimer’s, said Dr Wasay. “The disease can be an immense social burden, as the erratic behaviour of an Alzheimer’s patient can disturb the entire family.”
The psychiatric symptoms may include agitation, lack of sleep and aggressive behaviour.
Dr Muhammad Shahid Mustafa, consultant neurologist at AKUH, said that the disease can be identified through simple methods. “The first sign is when the family complains of the patient’s memory loss. It is followed by checking the patient’s history and if needed, doctors run tests such as the MRI or CT scan.”
Once identified, Mustafa said that the most important factor is training and counseling family members. Medicines are also easily available in the country but the treatment cost may vary from a few hundred rupees to Rs10,000 per month. “It is, however, a degenerating disorder so the medicines do not halt or cure the disease but can slow down its progress,” explained Mustafa. Conditions that affect the human brain, such as strokes, head injuries and brain infections, are more vulnerable to an attack, added Shafqat.
Dr Naila Shahbaz, the head of neurology department at Dow University of Health Sciences, said that while there are no direct links to the disease, the lack of vitamins B1, B6 and especially B12, might cause weaknesses similar to Alzheimer’s.
Shahbaz advised people to adopt a healthy lifestyle to keep the mind and body fit.
Published in The Express Tribune, September 20th, 2012.
Aga Khan University Hospital
Hosts Tanzanian President
the official visit was aimed to boost
trade ties between Kenya and Tanzania
Coastweek -- Aga Khan University Hospital, Nairobi hosted His Excellency Jakaya Kikwete, President of the United Republic of Tanzania for a tour of the Heart and Cancer Centre.
Part of an official visit, aimed to boost the ties between Kenya and Tanzania , His Excellency was accompanied by a delegation of cabinet ministers and government officials.
The Heart and Cancer Centre (HCC), a regional asset with an investment of over US$ 50 million was inaugurated in July last year, by His Excellency President Mwai Kibaki in the presence of His Highness the Aga Khan.
It was established in response to the growing need of world class care, for chronic diseases, including heart disease and cancer.
The HCC is also part of the Aga Khan University Faculty of Health Sciences and is the only facility in the region involved in training doctors in the fields of oncology and cardiology.
President Kikwete noted that East Africans and the people from sub-Sahara Africa no longer need to travel abroad as the Centre provides high quality, international standard care and treatment.
Currently the HCC serves patients not only from Kenya but from across the region.
Commenting on the accessibility of patients, Ms Asmita Gillani, CEO, AKUH,N said that the hospital’s Patient Welfare Programme has supported over 4500 treatments costing over Ksh260 million for patients who cannot afford specialised care.
“The University Hospital has also expanded access to quality health care by establishing 32 medical centres in the region including Arusha , Tanzania and Kampala , Uganda .
A medical centre in Burundi is also planned.
Ms Gillani further noted that Aga Khan University , an international university with presence in Kenya , Uganda and Tanzania , is planning to establish its principal East African campus in Arusha , Tanzania that will house a Faculty of Arts and Sciences.
Establishment of several graduate professional schools, such as Media and Communications, Tourism and Leisure, and Management is also underway.
President Kikwete commended the Aga Khan Development Network for the role they have played in the establishment of schools, hospitals and health clinics to undertaking initiatives for economic development and cultural preservation in Tanzania .
Heart matters: If oily food wasn’t enough, lack of exercise spells trouble
Diet and living habits expose Pakistanis to cardiovascular diseases, say experts.
By Our Correspondent
Published: September 24, 2012
KARACHI: Greasy food, lack of playgrounds, no concept of exercise and a rising stress level may all seem like social or cultural factors, but actually spell trouble for the heart.
At the World Health Day seminar held at the Aga Khan University Hospital (AKUH), health experts pointed out the precarious Pakistani habits of diet and living that expose the population to heart attacks and other associated diseases. The hospital’s auditorium was packed with patients and experts likewise.
Karachi—Aga Khan University Hospital (AKUH) has chalked-out an elaborate program to celebrate World Heart Day 2012 on Sunday with the theme One World, One Home, One Heart in the backdrop of the fact that Cardiovascular diseases are the world’s largest killers, claiming 17.3 million lives a year.
Risk factors for heart disease and stroke include raised blood pressure, cholesterol and glucose levels, smoking, inadequate intake of fruit and vegetables, overweight, obesity and physical inactivity.
The AKU program has been planned with the motive to raise awareness and encourage individuals, families, communities and governments to take action for reduction in the local burden of heart disease and stroke.
Dr Khawar Kazmi (consultant cardiologist), Dr Hasanat Sharif (consultant cardiac surgeon) and others will make their respective presentations on the occasion.
Awareness presentations will be followed by a heart walk from auditorium to the sport centre where the stalls will be setup for blood sugar and cholesterol testing, BP, BMI measurement, risk and micro fit assessment, and heart check and consultation.
The event would also include fun activities, like, games, lucky draws and healthy food stalls.—APP
A state-of-the-art stat laboratory has been launched by the Aga Khan University Hospital (AKUH) in Rawalpindi to better service the phlebotomy test needs of the twin cities of Rawalpindi and Islamabad as well as surrounding areas of northern Punjab, says a press release.
The laboratory will decrease test turnaround time, which from the patient’s perspective, reduces the waiting time for results and from the doctor’s permits physicians to make medical decisions in real time.
The Rawalpindi laboratory joins AKUH’s countrywide laboratory system, that includes a main laboratory with 12 stat labs and 192 specimen collection units throughout Pakistan. This lab will also perform procedures like fine-needle aspiration (FNA) biopsies and Pap smear tests.
“This is our second initiative this year, to improve access and the quality of healthcare services offered in Pakistan. In February, AKUH’s Clinical Laboratories established Pakistan’s first fully automated biochemistry laboratory at the main lab in Karachi,” said Dr Farooq Ghani, director outreach, AKUH Clinical Laboratories.
“Now it is launching a stat lab in Rawalpindi. All stat labs and the main lab are linked electronically, allowing test results to be reported as soon as they are performed. Patients can also get their reports online, if they wish, instead of visiting the laboratory collection points again,” he said.
Speaking at the inaugural session, Professor Dr Naila Kayani, Chair, Department of Pathology and Microbiology, and director of Clinical Laboratories, discussed the service and research aspects of pathology department backstopping the laboratory system, “Quality is a hallmark of AKUH laboratories. The system is supported by AKU’s highly qualified and experienced faculty that have academic and research responsibilities and are responsible for the delivery of complex laboratory services in a teaching hospital.”
The chief guest on the occasion, AKUH’s Regional CEO for Health Services Asia, Nadeem Mustafa Khan, lauded the clinical laboratories’ continuous efforts to provide timely and high quality lab tests in conformance with stringent international quality standards.
AKUH to commemorate World Mental Health Day on Oct 10
The Aga Khan University Hospital official said that the occasion is aimed to raise public awareness about the mental health issues The Aga Khan University Hospital (AKUH) will commemorate the World Mental Health Day 2012 on October 10.
An official of the institution said Tuesday that the occasion is aimed to raise public awareness about the mental health issues.
This year‚ it was pointed out‚ the theme for the day is `Depression: A Global Crisis'.
Depression affects more than 350 million people of all ages‚ in all communities‚ and is a significant contributor to the global burden of disease.
On the occasion‚ the AKUH experts will highlight basic mental health issues‚ especially depression - a global crisis‚ management of depression in women‚ managing adolescent issues‚ depression in medical illnesses‚ and role of rehabilitation in recovery of depression.
Mohammad Ahmed Baloch, a forty-day-old baby from Dera Allah Yar, Balochistan has become the first patient in Pakistan to survive on an artificial heart-lung machine for three days at Aga Khan University Hospital (AKUH).
The baby was born with a severe heart defect, where the two major vessels that carry blood away from the heart were misconnected. What this meant was that he was a ‘blue’ baby and with less oxygen in the blood, always short of breath. Without surgery, he stood no chance of surviving.
Brought to the Hospital’s Emergency Room, he was just 10 days old when doctors performed an initial life-prolonging procedure. “We had to create a hole in his heart, between the right and left chambers, so that the bloods could mix better,” says Dr Mehnaz Atiq, the paediatric cardiologist.
At one month Ahmed was ready for the next step, an operation that ‘switches’ the heart’s blood vessels back to their normal position and would permanently correct the problem.
The operation itself went well, but after the surgery, Ahmed’s blood pressure started to drop and it soon became evident that he needed help for this failing heart. His paediatric cardiac surgeon, Dr Muneer Amanullah and paediatric cardiologist, Dr Babar Hasan agreed that artificial heart support would provide the time needed for his heart to rest, recover and function properly.
To save Ahmed’s life, the paediatric cardiac and critical care team – assisted by Dr Asif Hasan from UK - had to set-up a customised heart-lung bypass system that acted like an ECMO (Extra-Corporeal Membrane Oxygenation) machine, which is not available anywhere in Pakistan. It was the first such use of an ECMO procedure in the country.
“Although the ECMO period of 72 hours was most intensive for all team members, doctors and nurses, none of us can forget the amazing moment when the artificial support was taken off and the baby’s heart started beating on its own,” recalls Dr Amanullah, consultant paediatric cardiac surgeon. “His heart has fully recovered now and hopefully he is going home.”
Commenting on the procedure, Prof. Anita Zaidi, Chair, Department of Paediatrics and Child Health said that this is an extremely technically demanding undertaking and that “AKUH were successful shows how advanced and sophisticated our paediatric cardiac services and critical care team have become in a short space of time.”
The Hospital’s Patient Welfare Programme and the Patients’ Behbud Society for AKUH has supported Ahmed’s family. “We couldn’t have afforded this surgery without the Hospital’s assistance and very grateful for it,” says Sher Ahmed Baloch, Ahmed’s grandfather, a primary school teacher in Dera Allah Yar.
Rida Turabi, Senior Media Executive, Department of Public Affairs, Aga Khan University, Stadium Road, Karachi, on +92 21 3486 2931 or firstname.lastname@example.org
AKU Lecture: A History of Fatimid Military Architectu​re
A History of Fatimid Military Architecture
Ifriqiya, Misr and Bilad al-Sham
Lecture by Dr. Stéphane Pradines
25 October 2012, 1:00 - 2:00 pm
Aga Khan University
Institute for the Study
of Muslim Civilisations
Room 2.3, Level 2
210 Euston Road
The Aga Khan University Faculty of Arts and Sciences (AKU-FAS) Master Plan establishes a framework for the inception and long-term growth of a new campus on 560 acres of arid scrubland 30 kilometers outside Karachi, Pakistan. AKU-FAS will be the major component of Education City, a regional development of schools and institutes that will eventually cover 8,000 acres.
The proposed campus morphology is based on buildings around courtyards. The Spine and Fingers organizing concept—a sequence of large courtyards intersected by a cross-grain of pedestrian "streets"—provides flexibility to grow into the unknown future. Strategic growth can occur by extending the Spine by one or more major courtyards with flanking building fabric, while tactical growth can occur by extending the building fabric along the cross-grain pedestrian streets, extending the Fingers.
Courtyards and verandas are emphasized as organizers and condensers of human activity. At the core of this project is a commitment to making places for people, a precept that drives the master planning at all scales. The first phase establishes the first two major courtyards—the Convocation Green and the Academic Green—that will be the spaces of memory and identity for the life of the institution.
AKU-FAS will establish a benchmark for responsible development in the region, including social, cultural and economic aspects along with a new model for addressing environmental issues.
Graduates prove they aren't parrots, but can still fly high
KARACHI: Examinations are usually a frightening ordeal: the long hours of preparation, scribbling furiously in the exam hall and then weeks of wallowing in anxiety while waiting for the results. But this is not the case for students sitting for papers set by the Aga Khan University Examination Board (AKU-EB).
They enjoy sitting the exams because the board does not stifle their creativity or award them marks only if their scripts are Xerox copies of textbooks. The board has not only helped them better prepare for college but secure admission to them in the first place. According to Aga Khan University’s president, Firoz Rasul, around 87 per cent of the students secure admission into Pakistan’s leading universities. “This year, around 98 per cent of AKU-EB students who sat the NED University of Engineering and Technology’s entrance test cleared it,” he said. “The increase in admissions to international universities was almost three times higher than 2010.”
At the board’s annual award ceremony organised on Wednesday at Aga Khan University’s auditorium, the high achievers were awarded for their brilliant performances. The board’s director, Dr Thomas Christie, recalled that the private examination board was set up in 2003 with an intention to restore people’s confidence in secondary and higher secondary school certificates, previously awarded only by public sector organisations. The board’s first exams were held around six years back and since then, it has come a long way. It is now affiliated with around 150 schools and colleges in 40 cities across the country.
During the ceremony, the examination board awarded 160 distinctions in different subjects to students who sat the Secondary School Certificate (SSC) and Higher Secondary School Certificate (HSSC) exams this year in May in around 40 cities across Pakistan – from Karachi to Chitral. Cash prizes were also awarded to the top three SSC and HSSC position holders.
The top SSC students were Syed Wahaj Ahmed from Shahwilayat Public School, followed by Sadaf Batool Rizvi from Al Murtuza School. Sheharyar Farooq and Zahra Hussaini from Sultan Muhammad Shah Aga Khan School and Habib Girls’ Higher Secondary School respectively shared the third position.
The top HSSC students were Anum Zehra Raza from Aga Khan Higher Secondary School who scored 91 per cent. Hafsa Jawed from Habib Girls’ Higher Secondary School secured the second position with 90.8 per cent. Third position went to Adil Shah from Aga Khan Higher Secondary School in Gahkuch, Gilgit-Baltistan.
In his keynote address, the managing director of Geo News, Azhar Abbas, asked the students to remember that graduation is only a concept. “Your schooling may be over but in real life, a person graduates every day and this process of learning continues till last breath,” he said. “Those of us who understand this can make a difference.”
An HSSC graduate, Hafsa Jawed, who is now enrolled at Dow University of Health Sciences, told The Express Tribune that the examination board had definitely helped her prepare well for college. “I was tested on how well I understood the concepts rather than how much I could write on an answer script.”
Zahra Hussaini, a student, said that instead of confining them to one prescribed textbook, the examination board encourages them to scour the internet and a plethora of books to come up with their own answers. “When I finally sat the exam and came across conceptual and tricky questions, I really enjoyed doing them.”
Published in The Express Tribune, November 16th, 2012.
Chitral -- The Higher Education Commission of Pakistan, under its Thematic Research Grants—Phase II, has awarded a research grant to the Aga Khan University’s Professional Development Centre in Chitral (AKU-PDCC) to study the “role of civil society institutions in developing appreciations for cultural diversity and promoting pluralism in Chitral district of Khyber—Pakhtunkhwa”. The research project was launched at a seminar organized by AKU-PDCC on Friday, December 7, 2012. A large number of people representing an array of civil society institutions, educational institutions, media, and local leadership attended the seminar.
Clinical Laboratories, AKUH,K Opens its 200th Lab Specimen Collection Unit.
I am happy to announce that today, on the Chancellor’s 76th birthday the Clinical Laboratories opened its 200th laboratory specimen collection Unit, at Rawalpindi. The first laboratory specimen collection unit was started at Hilal-e-Ahmer in Clifton in 1987, the 100th lab station was commissioned 18 years later at Safoora Goth (Karachi) and, the next 100 stations were added in seven years.
The three tier lab system comprises the tertiary lab at Stadium Road, 12 Outreach Laboratories in eight cities of Pakistan and the 200 lab stations are located in 88 cities of Pakistan. The fourth tier of the lab system will be Regional Labs and, the first Regional Lab will be commissioned in Lahore in 2013. The Clinical Laboratories will generate 7.7 million tests and serve approximately 2.3 million patients in 2012, at the tertiary hospital and Outreach Services. The Department of Pathology and Microbiology staffed by 38 Pathologists, oversee the quality outcomes of the Clinical Laboratories. Patient Welfare is offered in 40 lab stations across Pakistan. The Clinical Laboratories makes a powerful contribution to the University's sustainability.
I would like to acknowledge the contribution of the University leadership, Pathology and Microbiology Faculty, Lab Staff and all Support Services, in developing a laboratory system in Pakistan, which is reputed for providing world class test results.
KARACHI - Traditional ethics committees in healthcare organisations are reactive, addressing only the most visible ethical concerns.
They fail to highlight deeper organisational factors that influence how a healthcare organisation functions, instead focusing on issues related primarily to clinical ethics, explained Dr Robyna Khan, Assistant Professor, AKU. She was speaking in her capacity as Chair, Sixth Hospital Ethics Committee Symposium held at Aga Khan University.
Additionally, ethics committees are not well connected with other functions of the organisation which results in employees unable to handle ethical issues effectively. Dr Melissa Bottrell of the National Centre for Ethics in Healthcare in the United States identified the major limitations of traditional ethics committee models and offered an Integrated Ethics model as a paradigm shift that remedies most of these defects.
Professor Murad Khan, Chair, Department of Psychiatry, AKU described various components of organisational ethics. “As part of an organisational approach to ethics, committees should address matters such as conflict of interest issues, resource allocation, appointments and promotions as well as support other ethical activities in their institution.”
The Symposium provided an opportunity to review challenges, examine ethical issues in organisations, and identify the role of leaders, faculty, administration and staff in formulating and implementing solutions. Summarising the discussions Professor Camer Vellani, reviewed the impact of organisational culture, leadership, and ethics committees as drivers of success in an integrated ethics approach.
Other notable speakers at the Symposium included Dr Abdul Bari Khan, CEO, Indus Hospital, Ameena Saiyid, Managing Director, Oxford University Press, Professor Arif Zaman, former Dean, Lahore University of Management Sciences (LUMS) and Dr Nida Bashir, Consultant Surgeon, Patel Hospital.
Call to use latest technologies to boost teachers’ capacity
KARACHI: The Sindh Education Foundation (SEF) in collaboration with the Agha Khan University Institute for Education Development (AKU-IED) conducted 2nd Educational Dialogue titled ‘Governance for Quality Teachers’ to analyse developments in the field of education and to encourage open communication and constructive debate among stakeholders.
According to SEF, over 120 people, which included major stakeholders belonging to the field of academics, practitioners working in the field of education and representatives from the government and media personnel, attended the event.
Education experts and members of academia gathered to discuss measuresm which could be promoted in the field of education and to collectively arrive at some core recommendations and observations (specifically in regards to teachers) that can be forwarded to the relevant policy makers as a roadmap. Solutions were proposed that could be carried forward to the policy level for broader impact to aid the province of Sindh in particular and other provinces in general.
Speaking on the occasion, Taj Haider, policy planner and founding member Pakistan People’s Party, said that a law should be passed which makes 85 percent attendance for teachers mandatory to help resolve the issue of low attendance by the teachers. He stated that head teachers should lead from the front and by doing so they could resolve a lot of issues and motivate others to perform better.
Dr Zubair Shaikh, Executive Director Sindh Teacher Education Development Project (STEDA), said that it was essential that the professional capacity for teachers be developed in the country. He said that latest methodologies and technologies should be used to enhance teacher capacity and that a form of teacher licensing would be introduced by STEDA in the near future to regulate and maintain the quality of teachers.
Asghar Soomro, Advisor Communication and Outreach Social Policy and Development Centre, said there has been has been a constant problem with ghost employees in Pakistan, teachers drawing salaries without doing the job, which now gradually was being rectified with the use of technology.
Dr Jan-e-Alam Khaki said that he was worried about the state of education in the country and there was a root problem about how we look at education. He said that education could be provided without passion and commended Prof Anita Ghulam Ali, MD Sindh Education Foundation, on her never ending passion for the cause of education through the years.
Karamat Ali, Executive Director Pakistan Institute of Labour Education and Research (PILER), said that it was essential that students be educated in proper schools by trained teachers instead of being taught at madrassas. He said that in the past there was a commitment to education that we have sadly lost somewhere along the way.
Karamat said: “Article 25 A of the 18th amendment which calls for free education of all children is a great step in the right direction and it is imperative that it should be implemented by the government.”
Baela Raza, Founder Idara-e-Taleem-o-Aagahi (ITA), said that it was important that the parents and the civil society on the whole should have higher involvement in the children’s education, which would undoubtedly help improve the current situation. She said there was also an issue of politicisation in the field of education which was a cause of grave concern and needs to be resolved.
A question session answer was held between the panel of experts and the attendees at the end of the session.
​153 Doctors Receive Certificates at AKU’s 17th PGME Convocation
December 19, 2012
​The 17th Postgraduate Medical Education (PGME) graduation ceremony was held at Aga Khan University (AKU) on Wednesday, December 19, 2012. A total of 66 interns, 69 residents and 18 fellows were awarded certificates for completing their postgraduate medical training.
PGME at AKU aims at producing high quality specialists as clinicians, researchers and teachers equipped with academic leadership qualities. The residency and fellowship programmes offered in 60 distinct specialties are structured to provide rigorous training to doctors under the supervision of highly qualified and dedicated faculty members.
So far 2,198 doctors have graduated from AKU’s various PGME programmes and have maintained a 100 per cent pass record at FCPS, MRCP, MRCOG, MRCGP, FRCS, MRCS and other membership examinations. Presently, 60 per cent of them are practicing within Pakistan while over 25 per cent of AKU’s clinical faculty comprises of its own PGME graduates.
The list of exceptional specialists produced by the PGME programme at AKU is extensive. Several names that stand out for their contribution to health care in Pakistan include Dr Farhat Abbas, Dean, AKU Medical College. He is also the first AKU PGME graduate to be awarded the Tamgha-e-Imtiaz by the Government of Pakistan. Dr Abbas was also named a fellow of the Pakistan Academy of Sciences, which elects scientists of highest merit who have made outstanding contributions to the advancement of scientific knowledge.
Dr Asim Khan and Dr Muneer Amanullah, both alumni of AKU’s PGME, have developed special surgical treatments for congenital cardiac surgery in Pakistan. Dr Khalid S. Khan, Professor of Women's Health and Clinical Epidemiology at Barts and The London School of Medicine and Dentistry, Queen Mary, University of London, who is also an alumnus was the chief guest at the 17th PGME graduation ceremony. The day’s activities included a formal academic procession, addresses by the dean of the Medical College and the chief guest, valedictory speeches by a graduating intern and a graduating resident along with distribution of certificates and awards.
Fabeha Pervez, Media Executive, Department of Public Affairs, Aga Khan University, Stadium Road, Karachi, on +92 21 3486 2925 or email@example.com
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