Balanced diet most effective tool to prevent diabetes
* Healthy diet and physical activities essential for managing diabetes
By Shahid Farooq
KARACHI: Adopting a healthy diet, exercising regularly and maintaining normal body weight can prevent type II diabetes, the most common kind that can develop at any age.
This was stated by health experts at a seminar on World Diabetes Day held here at the Aga Khan University Hospital (AKUH) auditorium on Monday.
Defining the disease and its effect on the body, AKUH consultant endocrinologist Prof Dr Najm-ul-Islam said that diabetes was a chronic disease that affected how the body utilised blood glucose.
He elaborated that two most common types of diabetes were type I and type II. “In type I diabetes, the body’s own immune system attacks and destroys the insulin-producing cells in the pancreas”, he explained.
Dr Islam said that it was unclear why diabetes occurs, though a person’s family history and environmental factors might play a role. “Its symptoms include excessive urination, thirst, constant hunger, weight loss, blurred vision and fatigue”, he added.
Consultant endocrinologist further said that type II diabetes occurs when the body could not effectively use insulin or the pancreas fail to produce sufficient insulin to cover the inability.
Dr Islam said that approximately 90 percent of the people with diabetes around the world suffered from type II. Its symptoms might be similar to those of type I, but were often less marked which showed that the disease might be diagnosed several years after its onset.
“The number of people suffering from diabetes in Pakistan is increasing at an alarming rate and it is imperative that we adopt preventive measures if we are to stop the rapid spread of this disease,” warned Dr Islam.
AKUH clinical nutritionist Sumaira Naseem said that the most effective preventive tool from diabetes was balanced diet. “We are beginning to see unhealthy lifestyles develop in Pakistan, as we are consuming more fatty foods and becoming less mobile,” she said adding that the whole family needed to take a more balanced diet not only to prevent future cases of diabetes but also to help diabetics feel less isolated.
AKUH diabetes education nurse Farzana Rafiq stressed the need for diabetics to be vigilant about their feet. She said that foot problems were common and could become serious, adding that it was essential for diabetics to get their feet checked by their healthcare provider at least once a year and learn whether they had any nerve damage. Patients with known nerve or blood vessel damage should check and care for their feet every single day, she added.
She said that it could be done by examining the feet thoroughly and washing them in lukewarm water with a mild soap. She stressed that it was vitally important for diabetics to dry their feet thoroughly as wet areas were more prone to infection.
Pakistan has one of the highest childhood death burdens in the world, and pneumonia is the main single cause of death. As a contributor to the pneumonia burden, the country has a significant indoor air pollution (IAP) problem. Biomass fuel (wood, crop residues, animal dung) which is being used in four fifths of all households in Pakistan is the major source of IAP when it is burned for cooking, space heating and lighting homes. Biomass is mostly burned in inefficient three-stone stoves leading to incomplete combustion and high levels of indoor air concentration of smoke. There is a dearth of scientific studies in Pakistan to relate IAP to health effects; consequently IAP is not a recognized environmental hazard at policy level.
Building on the Situation analysis of household energy use and indoor air pollution in Pakistan, WHO organized a one day seminar at The Aga Khan University (AKU), Karachi, in September 2005 to raise awareness of household energy issues, indoor air pollution and its effect on child health.
The Centre for the Comparative Study of Muslim Societies and Cultures Simon Fraser University (SFU-CCSMSC) And The Institute for the Study of Muslim Civilizations Aga Khan University (AKU-ISMC) present:
International Summer Programme 2012 – Expressions of Diversity: An Introduction to Muslim Cultures
Monday, July 9 – Friday July 20, 2012 – Simon Fraser University, Vancouver Campus
Who should attend? Teachers, journalists, lawyers, NGO professionals, administrators, business persons, doctors, politicians, students, and those who work in multicultural settings or have an interest in exploring the full range of Muslim cultures.
A new milestone has been achieved at the Aga Khan University Hospital, Nairobi with the successful introduction of mini invasive surgery.
The cardiac surgical team of the Hospital, under Prof Dr Paul Simon, launched this type of cardiac operation in Kenya for the first time.
Explaining the procedure Dr Simon said, "Cardiac surgery generally poses a major trauma and usually requires complete opening of the chest by splitting the chest bone for access to the heart.
Routinely, a patient’s blood circulation needs to be supported by the heart-lung-machine while the diseased structures of the heart are repaired or replaced.
Recovery of the patient usually takes more than a week in the hospital and several weeks at home until full daily functioning can be resumed."
"Minimally invasive cardiac surgery has been shown to reduce length of hospital stay and morbidity after cardiac surgery and may speed up recovery. It is not suitable for all, but the approach needs to be tailored to the individual patient. Some procedures can also be done on the beating heart completely avoiding the use of the heart-lung-machine, but using stabilising devices, which may also increase safety of cardiac surgery in some patients."
Dr Simon stressed the importance of these techniques being performed only after extensive training.
He said, "The technical demands on the surgeon and the whole team increase substantially and safety cannot be jeopardised in mini-invasive cardiac surgical procedures".
AKU involved in a study: Essential Interventions, Commodities and Guidelines for Reproductive, Maternal, Newborn and Child Health
3-year study identifies key interventions to reduce maternal, newborn and child deaths
Some 56 evidence-based interventions will sharply reduce the 358,000 women who still die each year during pregnancy and childbirth and the 7.6 million children who die before the age of 5, according to a massive three-year global study.
The study, Essential Interventions, Commodities and Guidelines for Reproductive, Maternal, Newborn and Child Health, is designed to facilitate decision-making in low- and middle-income countries about how to allocate limited resources for maximum impact on the health of women and children.
The study reviewed 50,000 medical papers to determine the proven effectiveness of interventions and impact on survival, identifying 56 essential inventions. The study is released today by the World Health Organization (WHO), the Aga Khan University and The Partnership for Maternal, Newborn & Child Health (PMNCH).
Some of the interventions include:
Manage maternal anemia with iron;
Prevent and manage post-partum hemorrhage;
Immediate thermal care for newborns;
Extra support for feeding small and preterm babies;
Antibiotics for the treatment of pneumonia in children.
PMNCH which has 440 partners, including countries, UN and multilateral agencies, non-governmental organizations, health groups, foundations, academic and research institutions, and the private sector, will distribute this essential list through its global network and actively advocate for its use. A condensed version on a simple, hand-held slide ruler for instant reference is currently under development.
"A lot is not brand new," says Elizabeth Mason, M.D., Director of the World Health Organization's department of Maternal, Newborn, Child and Adolescent Health, and an author of the study. "It has been more a question of putting together information in a different way and building consensus among physicians, scientists and professional organizations to lay out an evidenced-based path to help women before, during and after birth and their children. Everyone now agrees on the 56 essential interventions."
Arusha to have new city plan
Monday, 09 January 2012 08:18
By Zephania Ubwani, The Citizen Bureau Chief
Arusha. Arusha City will have a new master plan whose implementation will involve public and private sectors.
The Arusha Chapter chairman of the Tanzania Chamber of Commerce, Industry and Agriculture (TCCIA), Mr Adolf Olomi said a committee had been formed to make the plan a success.
“We want to make Arusha a modern city,” he told stakeholders in business and industry at the Nelson Mandela African Institute of Science and Technology (NM-AIST) on Friday here.
Mr Olomi, who is the managing director of the Arusha-based Banana Investment winery, said the first meeting of the task force on the development of the city took place recently to lay ground for the way forward.
The committee is made up of officials from the city council and representatives from the private sector.
However, he said much work remained to be done to set in motion preparation of the plan.
Arusha is the headquarters of regional institutions such as the East African Community and should be well developed in the next 30 to 50 years, he said. “We can’t afford to have the present structures in Arusha in the next 30 years if the town is to become competitive in East Africa.”
According to him, the last development master plan for Arusha was prepared in 1978 and, according to Mr Olomi and other stakeholders it had largely not been implemented.
“I can’t say why it had not been implemented. May be some people did not like it,” he said of the plan prepared by Canadian experts when the population of the town was below 100,000.
According to him, the Arusha “of tomorrow” will need industrial parks, well demarcated areas for low and high density as well as specially designated areas for businesses and social services. Municipal Council officials could not be reached to comment on the new plan.
The government, nevertheless, in 2010 tripled the size of the city to 270 square kilometres from 93 square kilometres after hiving off some wards in Arumeru District.
The population of the city is currently estimated at well above 500,000 with some projections hinting that it could reach one million by the time the National Population Census is held next August.
Key infrastructure development projects that have started being undertaken, including expanding the road network as well as opening new roads around the city to cope with huge traffic.
The NM-AIST vice chancellor, Prof Burton Mwamila, said the institute was working with the Aga Khan University to make Arusha an East African hub of higher education.
The Aga Khan Foundation is setting up a university on the outskirts of Arusha after acquiring hundreds of acres in the former coffee Estate, some 10 kilometres outside the town off Dodoma road.
A number of universities based here include the Mt Meru University, Arusha University, Makumira University and campuses or field training centres for other local universities, including the University of Dar es Salaam.
The city also hosts the Eastern and Southern Africa Management Institute and scientific and technological organisations. They include the Tanzania Wildlife Research Institute, the Tanzania Atomic Energy Commission and the Tropical Pesticides Research Institute
Balochistan, AKU-IED working jointly to restructure educational system
Tuesday, January 10, 2012
The Balochistan education department and the Aga Khan University Institute for Educational Development (AKU-IED) are collaborating to restructure the education system across Balochistan.
Secretary Education Munir Ahmed Badini headed a delegation visiting the AKU-IED to discuss steps to be taken for capacity development on Monday. The steps would include an innovative teacher training programme and establishing a centre for excellence in education at Gwadar, an AKU-IED spokesperson said.
During the meeting, Director AKU-IED Dr Muhammad Memon highlighted the initiatives taken by the institute in Balochistan, particularly the Strengthening Teacher Education Programme (STEP) being implemented across Quetta, Killa Saifullah and Chaghai. It was funded by the Canadian International Development Agency and the Aga Khan Foundation.
“Under STEP, a “Cluster-based” mentoring programme has been introduced in 110 primary schools by dividing these institutes at district level. This would ensure constant professional development of teachers, especially in rural areas,” Memon told the delegation.
STEP also offered scholarships to teachers and educational managers in Balochistan for a two-year MEd programme, he added.
Also, a Whole School Improvement Programme had been implemented in 27 schools which aimed at improving the general school environment, making it conducive to learning as well as teaching, the director added.
Meanwhile, Badini lauded the contribution of the Aga Khan Development Network towards social sector development throughout Pakistan. He pointed out that joint ventures between public and private institutions must be encouraged to improve the quality of education in the country.
January 19, 2012 RECORDER REPORT 0 Comments A state-of-the-art automated laboratory system that ensures more accurate test results as well as allows a quicker reporting time is being launched at Aga Khan University Hospital, Karachi (AKUH).
Firoz Rasul, President, Aga Khan University, will be the chief guest at the inaugural ceremony to be held on January 19.
Aimed to advance patient care, this new system will automate the diagnostic tests resulting in a faster turnaround time of tests performed at the main clinical laboratory in Karachi.
Lab Cell Automation Solution by Siemens Healthcare Diagnostics will streamline workflow and increase clinical efficiency by minimising errors, increasing test consistency and achieving a shorter, more predictable turnaround.
With over 700 test menus offered, AKUH Clinical Laboratories perform over seven million tests annually, and also receive samples from Afghanistan, UAE, East Africa and Central Asia.-PR
To learn and serve: Bioethics Assembly comes to order
By Our Correspondent
Published: January 29, 2012
The first bioethicists group of Pakistan, named the Bioethics Assembly, held their initial seminar at the Aga Khan Hospital on Saturday.
The Bioethics Assembly, an academic group from the Aga Khan University (AKU), aims to spread education and information regarding bioethics in medical colleges, universities, hospitals and health care units.
The participants at the seminar underscored on the need for lectures and discussions on bioethics at different institutions and health care centres to create awareness.
The AKU Bioethics Unit Coordinator, Dr Arshi Farooqui, encouraged participants to write articles in medical journals to spread information.
Farooqi said that there is a deficiency of bioethics education in the country and the university will soon offer short courses to assist more people.
The Bioethics Assembly, comprising three batches of the AKU graduates and masters in Bioethics, will meet every alternate month to discuss and spread information on new topics emerging in the field.
Published in The Express Tribune, January 29th, 2012.
For two and a half years, Sylvia Nalubega had to travel from Tororo to Kampala every Sunday evening and repeat the three-hour journey each Tuesday, back to Tororo where she works and lives with her family.
Commuting from Tororo to attend classes at the Aga Khan University (AKU) in Kampala has been a tough run, but Nalubega's efforts paid off when she graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Nursing on Saturday.
"It was not easy. My employers gave me two days off: Monday and Tuesday. I, therefore, had to come every Sunday evening and go back on Tuesday evening", she said.
In addition to the degree, she received the award of Academic Excellence after she emerged top among the students graduating from the BSC Nursing programme.
"She was not only the best performer in Uganda, but also the best of all graduating students in East Africa this year", said Firoz Rasul, president Aga Khan University, while presenting her with the award.
Sixteen graduands received the degree of BSC Nursing at AKU's ninth convocation ceremony held at the university premises in Old Kampala, Saturday. State minister for health, Richard Nduhura, who officiated at the event, noted the increasing brain drain from the region and said it could only be arrested "if we can meet the demand for intellectual and economic fulfillment". He stressed the need to limit the financial burden on students through bursaries and loan programmes.
Founded in 1983, Aga Khan University specialises in the health and education fields. The university currently has programmes in eight countries spread over three continents. In East Africa, it offers advanced nursing studies programmes in Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania, supported by the 250-bed Aga Khan University teaching hospital in Nairobi. Rasul said the university has established 30 medical outreach centres across East Africa, where students practise.
Nalubega dedicated her award to her family, particularly her husband, David Ogwang. "He is such an understanding man. I work the entire week and my children have had little time with me, but he has always been there for me", she said.
Ogwang called her a "heroine" for her commitment and endurance, saying few people would accomplish such a feat under her circumstances.
"I believe that wives are managers of the home. They should be given more time to study to make a positive influence on our children", Ogwang said. "To me, she is a heroine; a blessing to the family".
Programs & Results
Room to Read’s operations in Tanzania began in 2011, with the search for a local staff, initial baseline assessments and site selection. Those activities, along with program implementation began in early 2012 through a partnership with Aga Khan University’s Institute for Educational Development—East Africa (AKU).
AKU will work with our Reading & Writing Instruction program to provide teacher training and capacity building in the schools where we work, with Room to Read providing ongoing support after the initial training period.
Consistent with our model of holistic intervention, Room to Read will also launch our School Library, School Construction and Girls’ Education programs in partnership with the local government and individual communities served.
Campus is calling for AKU’s humanities school but the bigger the project the longer the wait
Key figures deny rumours that Education City project has been shelved.
By Saba Imtiaz
Published: March 19, 2012
The first phase of AKU’s new campus will cost $500 million and will include an academic building spread over 200 acres. PHOTO: AFP
KARACHI: In the early 2000s, students would often wonder when the much-rumoured humanities school by the Aga Khan University (AKU) would materialise.
They can dream on for a bit. Even though the AKU’s Faculty of Arts and Sciences is slated to open at the ambitious Education City project in Karachi, it is still several years away from completion.
The AKU’s new school is one of several high-profile campuses planned for the 9,000-acre Education City. Other schools that have signed on to build campuses at the site include the Sindh Institute of Urology and Transplantation, the Shaheed Zulfikar Ali Bhutto Institute of Science and Technology and the Sir Syed University of Engineering and Technology.
Rumours that AKU had backed out of the project have surfaced, but the project director for the Faculty of Arts and Sciences, Karim Nurmohamed, and Zubair Motiwala, who serves as an adviser to the Sindh chief minister, have denied this. “His Excellency the Aga Khan has assured that it will go ahead,” Motiwala told The Express Tribune. “The AKU is at a very advanced stage, in terms of its model and master plan.”
It appears that it is simply a case of all the pieces taking time to come together to fit. Initially, the universities had two years to build up their campuses at Education City. But in 2010, the government realised it wasn’t a workable deadline. “We have changed this (deadline) according to the size of the universities,” said Motiwala. “AKU suggested this (given the size of their project) and we have acceded to their suggestions.”
In order to gauge the magnitude of the task consider the numbers. The first phase of AKU’s new campus will cost $500 million and will include an academic building spread over 200 acres. The entire campus will take up about 1,200 acres, with 560 of them for the academic campus and about the same space for the university residential village. While AKU will be approaching funding agencies and will raise funds in Pakistan and abroad, it has already elicited interest and donations.
While Motiwala suggested that AKU would take about six years, Nurmohamed said there was no set timeline because they plan to start work on infrastructure and development as soon as the master plan is approved and they have a board in place.
As the universities work on their blueprints, a crucial part of the picture is the government’s input, which will come in the form of its master plan for Education City. Nurmohamed told The Express Tribune that AKU and other campuses are waiting on the government to complete its master plan for Education City, and they have given the government feedback on its preliminary plan.
“We wanted to make sure it would be a fit with what we’ve planned,” he said, stressing the importance of the campus for AKU. “We are basically a university that offers professional education to doctors, nurses and teachers and we want to move forward to being a complete university.”
Nurmohamed says there has been “very good recent progress” and he feels that the current political administration has been very helpful.
AKU’s new project envisages schools for architecture and human settlement, education, law and management, according to a document available on the Sindh Board of Investment’s website. Nurmohamed said that while they have a basic academic framework, it is dependent on the recruitment of senior faculty to help set up the actual curriculum and programmes, and that they will recruit once there is progress on the master plan.
It also aims to draw students who may have not considered a liberal arts education owing to a lack of universities offering a good programme. “The Lahore University of Management Sciences and the Forman Christian College in Lahore offer some courses in humanities, but they are still on a limited scale. We’ll be offering much more.”
The AKU is also opening a faculty of arts and sciences in Tanzania, and imagines that the two campuses will have similar faculties. Additionally, AKU says it is planning for a greener campus, which will position the sports facilities closer to the classrooms. Its design for the Karachi project has already received two awards – for land use and design.
An act governing Education City is also supposed to be presented in the Sindh Assembly. Motiwala, who also chairs the Sindh Board of Investment, aims that in five years, the board for Education City will include new entrepreneurs and that the chancellors or owners of the educational institutions will be eligible to become board members. He isn’t worried about instability in the city or political developments, since he believes mega projects like the Education City are long-term. “There are 9,000 acres of land and only 20% has been allocated,” he said by way of explaining not only how large the project is but also that it will take time to execute in its entirety.
While projects like this tend to be ignored when governments change, Motiwala says he has elicited all the help needed from the government and the draft legislation is ready. Once it is passed, it will be all systems go for Education City.
Published in The Express Tribune, March 19th, 2012.
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 .
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