Surgeons at work. Aga khan Hospital surgeons will on Thursday use Video Conference Surgery (VCS) technology to operate on patients under the guidance of specialists sitting in India, saving on costs associated with quality treatment abroad such as air tickets and accommodation. Liz Muthoni (Nairobi)
By Mugambi Mutegi (email the author)
Posted Wednesday, September 7 2011 at 20:35
The first surgery enabled by remote video technology in Kenya will be performed on Thursday at the Aga Khan University Hospital.
The Nairobi-based surgeons will use Video Conference Surgery (VCS) technology to operate on patients under the guidance of specialists sitting in India, saving on costs associated with quality treatment abroad such as air tickets and accommodation. (READ: Pain of treatment deepens with rise in medical fees )
Doctors said the technology could significantly reduce the cost of specialised treatment and enhance Kenya’s status as a medical tourism destination.
“This mode of treatment is being used in many developed countries since it obviates the need for doctors traversing continents to offer treatment,” said Jose Banda, the executive director of the Kenya Kidney and Lupus Foundation.
VCS allows surgeons to oversee operations either through controlling robotic machines or by teleconference liaison with supervising doctors in the operating room.
Internet provider Access Kenya and Asterisk and Sight & Sound will be providing the broadband service.
VCS procedures are highly dependent on a reliable and high capacity bandwidth because precision is key to the success of any operation. Besides giving patients access to faster treatment, the technology will help claw back on revenue that was previously going abroad.
“Furthermore patients can access up-to-date treatment from particular specialists lacking in their country and therefore enjoy better recuperation without the hassles of boarding aeroplanes,” Mrs Banda.
The number of patients seeking surgery in India, for instance, is expected to reach 50,000 this year compared to half that number last year.
Some of the most common ailments that have for years precipitated an exodus of patients to Asia and Europe include neurological disorders, brain surgery, open heart surgeries and orthopedic-related ailments.
Recent data indicates that Kenya requires 24,000 doctors but only has 7,000, with 3,000 of them working in public hospitals and 4,000 in private ones. Brain drain has taken another 1,000 to greener pastures abroad.
The capacity gap to meet the demand for services has seen many seek treatment abroad, their choice dictated by waiting lists, some of which stretch several months before surgery can be performed.
“We have for years referred our patients to other countries for critical operations because the doctors there have been practising the procedures for much longer than our own,” said Mr Peter Nduati, the chief executive of Resolution Health East Africa, a medical insurer.
It is now common to get invited to fundraisers of relatives or friends collecting money to send their ailing patients abroad with the cost of the treatment running into millions of shillings.
Mr Nduati, however, cautions that the cost of having procedures done in local hospitals which embrace the technology needs to be low enough for VCS to have an impact.
“Hospitals embracing this technology should keep the charges affordable to stop the exodus especially to India where the cost is ten times less than in Kenya for some ailments,” he said.
VCS comes a month after the Aga Khan University Hospital unveiled a Sh4.25 billion heart and cancer centre meant to tap into the number of patients from Kenya and the region who travel abroad for treatment.
Top hospitals in the country have in the past four months increased their charges by up to 40 per cent leaving medical insurance providers contemplating to effect premium changes to reverse underwriting losses.
Remote provision of healthcare is gaining pace in the country with mobile providers Safaricom and Telkom Kenya said to be exploring different innovations.
Health Presence, being fronted by Safaricom, is expected to be situated at the digital villages it is currently building from where patients will consult their doctors through teleconferencing.
Kenya Thursday reached a medical milestone by having the first surgery enabled via video links successfully concluded at the Aga Khan University Hospital in Nairobi. Video Conference Surgery, as the innovation is known, offers limitless opportunities for procedures that Kenyans have been shopping for abroad, largely because of the high costs of the treatment locally and, in some cases, because of the waiting lines at public facilities with the capacity to perform the operations more affordably.
Besides the direct benefits to patients, there is the long term aspect of linking doctors in Kenya, with more experienced and skilled medics in countries dictating instructions to their local counterparts. These will form the next knowledge pool that Kenya can rely on for training of future doctors, hopefully helping reduce the personnel deficit that has left only 7,000 doctors serving in Kenya compared to a demand of 24,000.
VCS also promises better linkages between doctors in hospitals in remote areas and specialists in leading private and referral hospitals that would help perform delicate procedures without patients having to be transferred. Infrastructure challenges, however, limit the potential to which telemedicine can be practised in Kenya, outside the main urban centres. For one, the technology requires a dependable bandwidth in a sector where precision is, literally a matter of life and death. This calls for the government to expedite laying out of the fibre optic cables to major centres in Kenya.
The bandwidth aside, there is the need for supporting infrastructure such as electricity, which for now is not installed in remote outposts. However, it is in creating public awareness that the most arduous task lies. Some medical practitioners are already downplaying the significance of VCS possibly because it threatens potential revenue streams and for reasons of business rivalry.
Such sentiments are nevertheless likely to discourage potential users of the technology because of fears over the risks inherent in the mode of treatment. Once these challenges are addressed Kenya will be swiftly on the way to becoming a medical tourism hub in Africa.
This will have a great bearing on the country’s balance of trade and, at a human scale, alleviate the plight of thousands of families that watch helplessly as their loved one suffer for years from treatable neurological disorders, brain, heart and orthopedic ailments just because of want of financial resources
The Department of Pharmacy Services, Aga Khan University Hospital has won the Asian Hospital Management Awards 2011 in Singapore. The winning project was entitled: “Enhancing patient safety through innovations in the Computerised Physician Order Entry (CPOE) system”. The award was received by Abdul Latif Sheikh, Director Pharmacy, at a grand ceremony held in Singapore on September 8, 2011.
A total of 315 entries representing 84 hospitals from 11 countries were submitted of which the 35 finalists represented 24 hospitals from 9 countries.
Awards are given to those hospitals in the region that, in the opinion of the judges and advisers, have implemented or enhanced outstanding and innovative projects, programs, and best practices. The awards program recognizes and honours hospitals in Asia that carry out best hospital practices.
The Hospital Management Asia is organised in cooperation with Joint Commission International, Johns Hopkins Medicine International, International Hospital Federation and the Asian Hospital Federation, with the support of the Singapore Ministry of Health.
This achievement has been made possible by the quality and committed leadership, teamwork, effective contribution of pharmacy staff, P&T committee, I.T. and other key players of medication management i.e., nursing as well as physicians.
Hassaan Akhter, Media Executive, Department of Public Affairs, Aga Khan University, Stadium Road, Karachi, on +92 21 3486 2927 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Treating over 1m flood-hit patients and still going strong…
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AKU gives details about its efforts to help the flood-affected population after last year’s floods and rain disaster this year
KARACHI - The Aga Khan University (AKU) has calculated that its teams have treated over one million patients in the flood-hit areas of Sindh and Balochistan since the disaster struck these areas in 2010. In a press released issued on Wednesday, AKU said that it responded to the national disaster by dispatching medical teams as soon as possible to Khairpur and Sukkur in Sindh, followed by Jaffarabad in Balochistan.
Later, the AKU sent out several teams of its volunteers, doctors and nurses, who provided urgent health services through camps, mobile units and government-run basic health units and hospitals. At the university, a range of departments supported these efforts, providing people with medical supplies, food, transport and security. Eventually, 16 districts across Sindh, southern Punjab and Balochistan were covered.
The AKU’s Flood Response Programme has been generously supported through a $6.2 million grant from the US Agency for International Development (USAID) as well as a contribution of a day’s salary by the university’s faculty and staff. Besides volunteers, over 300 full-time contractual staff of the AKU has provided healthcare to the flood-affected people in these districts. Over one million people have received lifesaving health care from AKU as a result of the programme.
The flood-affected people received treatment for dehydration, diarrhoea, pneumonia, snake bites, skin infections and many other diseases associated with the floods. Nurses and doctors also provided antenatal care, assisted deliveries and administered vaccinations.
In addition to basic healthcare, the programme also includes a nutrition intervention component, treating malnourished and under-nourished children with ready-to-use therapeutic food and micronutrients, and women of reproductive age with folic acid and iron supplementation. One of the biggest strengths of the AKU’s programme has been the low cost of about $3 per patient, enabling the university to treat more people.
“The Aga Khan University is a strong example of the numerous local organisations that have worked with USAID to alleviate human suffering caused by the floods,” said USAID Mission Director Andrew Sisson. “The United States is committed to supporting the Pakistani government and people in their efforts to address Pakistan’s priority issues.”
Over the past weeks, medical care has been provided to the communities in Sindh, in Badin and Khairpur, most affected by this year’s floods, reaffirming AKU and USAID’s resolve to help those who are most affected by the disaster.
INFO SESSION - Aga Khan University (AKU) Internships (Worldwide)
Internationalize your degree and your resume with an International Internship through Aga Khan University (AKU).
- Travel and earn practical work experience in your field
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INFO SESSION (open to all students):
Thursday, October 6, 12pm - 2pm
International Centre (172 HUB Mall)
AKU in collaboration to access the nutritional status of population
National Nutrition Survey 2011: Food insecurity affecting 60% of women and children
By Sehrish Wasif
Published: September 18, 2011
Around 60% of Pakistan’s total population is facing food insecurity, revealed Pakistan’s National Nutrition Survey (NNS) 2011 on Saturday. The results of the survey, termed by health experts as “alarming”, indicate a significant decline in the nutritional status of the people of the country over the past decade.
This information was disclosed at the launching ceremony of NNS 2011 held here at a local hotel. The national survey, conducted by Ministry of Health’s (MoH) Nutrition Wing in collaboration with Agha Khan University (AKU), assessed the nutritional status of the population, especially women and children, while also covering morbidity and family care practices.
Dr Greg Moran brings over two decades of experience as member of University of Western Ontario faculty, researcher and theses supervisor
KARACHI - Dr Greg Moran has been appointed as the new provost of the Aga Khan University (AKU) and the chief academic officer will play a key part in overseeing the quality of the entire university’s academic programmes. According to a statement issued by the AKU Public Affairs, Dr Moran brings over two decades of experience as faculty, researcher and theses supervisor.A member of the faculty of the University of Western Ontario (UWO) in London, Ontario, Canada since 1977, he has been a full-time professor since 1992 besides holding a number of administrative positions. These have included chair of the department of psychology, dean of graduate studies, provost, vice president (academic), and twice, he was acting president.
‘Delay in diagnosis of visual impairment leads to blindness’
By Haris Hanif
KARACHI: ‘The delay in diagnosis of visual impairment lead to blindness while 80 percent of people with cataracts, glaucoma, age-related macular degeneration and diabetes-related blindness can be avoided or cured through timely diagnosis and proper treatment.’
Health experts stated this at a seminar held at the Aga Khan University Hospital (AKUH) to mark the World Sight Day on Thursday.
The eye specialists said cataract remains one of the principal causes of blindness for all age groups even though they are more common in older people in developing countries.
Consultant Ophthalmologist, AKUH Dr Sharmeen Akram said, “When a person gets a cataract, the eye’s natural lens begins to cloud, leading to blurred vision, double vision or difficulty while driving at night.”
She said a simple eye examination could help diagnose the disease, which is initially treated through glasses, brighter lighting and magnifying lenses while reading. However, when these do not help, surgery can resolve the problem – a short outpatient procedure where the natural lens is replaced with an artificial one. This treatment is widely available in the country, she added.
Highlighting the paediatric eye problems, Consultant Ophthalmologist and head of Ophthalmology Section at AKUH Dr Tanveer Chaudhry explained that in children a squint might be a symptom of something more serious and should not be ignored.
He also laid emphasis on the need for premature babies to be screened promptly for eye problems. Retinopathy of prematurity is a potentially blinding eye disorder that affects premature infants, he informed.
“At AKUH, we have a referral system for the screening of such children but we need to increase awareness among all health care providers and general public so the sight of children born early can be saved,” he says.
He maintained that a recent survey of leading maternity homes and hospitals across Karachi, well equipped to save very premature children, showed a lack of awareness of ROP and its management.
Consultant Ophthalmolo-gist, AKUH Dr Rashid Baig said globally, glaucoma is another major cause of blindness. High pressure within the eye is thought to be one of the reasons for this group of diseases that lead to gradual vision loss. Sometimes, though, glaucoma may arise unexpectedly with a sudden onset of headaches, blurred vision and pain in the affected eye. He noted that although there was no cure for glaucoma, early diagnosis, regular eye exams and treatment could control the progression of the disease.
The Aga Khan University, an international multi-site higher education institution, has launched a new drive to lure East Africans studying abroad back home. It hopes the opening of a new state-of-the-art campus in Arusha, northern Tanzania, will bring back to the region thousands of students from Tanzania, Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda and Burundi, who fly out of East Africa in droves every year in search of better education in the US, Europe and Asia.
Aga Khan University already has three campuses in Tanzania, which specialise in teaching nursing, medicine and education, and located in the country’s commercial capital Dar es Salaam. The new campus is set to house arts and science faculties and educate up to 3,000 students from across East Africa.
Heart beat: 7% to 20% of people do not survive a stroke
Published: October 27, 2011
KARACHI: Nearly 400 people in the country die because of strokes everyday yet people, especially those in the media do not take it seriously, said Society of Neurology Pakistan Secretary and Aga Khan University Hospital Associate Professor Dr Mohammad Wasay.
“Since there is no awareness about the symptoms, people do not bother going to the hospital immediately.”
While speaking at the Karachi Press Club on Wednesday, Dr Wasay said that there was a need to create awareness especially since it affected nearly 350,000 people in Pakistan. “A stroke can be prevented and can be treated with proper medication,” he said. “It is our duty to protect people from them and to create awareness so that the government can take measures against it.” He added that a stroke could easily be avoided by exercising, controlling the intake of salt and not smoking. “The ratio of strokes in men is higher as compared to women,” he said.
Dr Abdul Malik from the Jinnah Postgraduate Medical Centre said that everyday nearly 22 per cent of patients had a stroke and only seven to 20 per cent did not survive. He added that the Pakistan Stroke Society was organising an event on World Stroke Day to educate people. They also plan to hold two free stroke camps to check cholesterol and blood pressure.
Published in The Express Tribune, October 27th, 2011.
Young minds: AKU-EB awards higher achievers all over the country
Published: October 27, 2011
KARACHI: Dressed formally in crisp school uniforms, students from different schools had gathered at the Aga Khan University Hospital (AKUH) auditorium to receive their higher achiever awards on Wednesday.
The AKU-Education Board had held its annual award ceremony for the Secondary School Certificate (SSC) and the Higher Secondary School Certificate (HSSC). Pop singer and Zindagi Trust Foundation founder Shehzad Roy was present as chief guest. The ceremony kicked off with a brief introduction about the higher achievers and the boards accomplishments. According to Roy, the young people were the leaders of tomorrow. “If we want our young people to conquer the world and contribute to society, then it is essential for us to provide them with good education,” he said. “A decade or two from now this country is going to witness a great change because our students will be equipped with knowledge and skills to use it effectively.” He added that the AKU-EB has set an example in providing high quality education in the country. They started distributing the award certificates with Roy singing one of his all time hits, ‘Tera kangna jab khankay.’
AKU-EB Director Dr Thomas Christie gave out the SSC certificates to students from all over Pakistan. Roy was called up on stage again to give out awards certificates to HSSC students. AKUH President Faiz Rasul was asked to come on stage and give the certificates to Hooria Imran, Komal Zehra Zaidi and Sarah Salahuddin, the top three SSC students and Hani Ghulam Abbas, Asma Gulab and Raaza Malja, the top three HSSC students.
Pre-engineering student Hani Ghulam Abbas and pre-medical student Asma Gulab told The Express Tribune that it was impossible to pass the exam until and unless you understand the subject completely. This year, the AKU-EB has awarded 180 distinctions in different subjects and groups to students from 23 cities. Certificates and cash prizes were also distributed to the top three SSC and HSSC position holders.
Towards the end of the ceremony, Dr Christie said that in the last 10 years, the media had revolutionised and in future the AKU-EB would start media studies and journalism programmes.
Published in The Express Tribune, October 27th, 2011.
The Aga Khan University (AKU) auditorium was a swirl of green and white convocation robes on Saturday as the class of 2011 prepared to take its final walk as students.
The 317 degrees had to be conferred upon students in two separate ceremonies for the Medical College and Institute for Educational Development and the School of Nursing. Four of the students walked away with doctorates – one in education and three in the health sciences.
The students trooped into the hall carrying a flag bearing the university emblem. The chief guest, president, registrar and faculty followed in their wake and Board of Trustees Chairman Ambassador Saidullah Khan Dehalvi opened the celebrations.
“Not only has AKU broken new ground in the delivery of health care and education,” said Afghanistan Acting Public Health Minister Dr Suraya Dalil, as she addressed the gathering as the chief guest, “but by combining education and health delivery it has built a synergy that has mutually reinforced both disciplines.” Dr Dalil pointed out that six of the graduates were Afghans.
In the afternoon, the 149 School of Nursing graduates filled the auditorium. AKU President Firoz Rasul emphasised the university’s efforts towards producing competent professionals with the ability to solve problems.
The graduates, young and old, were filled with a sense of accomplishment and fulfilment. Syed Javed Mehdi, a fresh Master’s in Education, is actually a grade 16 government school teacher and teaches secondary classes. His frail mother stood beside him, swathed in a black shawl but beaming with pride over her youngest son’s achievement. She had come all the way from Khairpur to see him graduate. Syed feels he learnt how to innovate and bring about change in the educational system during his time at AKU.
The PhDs, meanwhile, are exploring new research in the country. Dr Mohsin Yaqoob flew back from Johns Hopkins University to attend his convocation. He completed his doctorate in Physiology and was offered a post doctorate from Hopkins, but he definitely intends to come back to Pakistan. He said that while getting into AKU was difficult, it was not at all unaffordable.
“AKU first selects students on merit and later the fee details are [worked out],” he explained. “In case he or she cannot afford it, it is paid by the university.” This is what makes the PhD programme highly competitive and only about four of almost 90 applications are selected, he explained.
Dr Junaid Iqbal, another new PhD holder, received a 100 per cent scholarship at AKU. He was inspired by a personal incident to take up astrobiology and is researching extremophiles, parasites – a subject alien to Pakistan. Similarly, their colleague, Dr Humera Humayan is off to Japan for her post graduation after completing a PhD in Microbiology.
Raising the MBBS bar
For the MBBS students, expectations are high. Of the 95 graduates, 15 are already Medical Diplomats that licences them to work in the US after they pass their USMLE.
Standing in queue for their graduate pictures beside the university emblem, Akbar Saleh, Umar Rasheed and Umar Tariq said that they have already received calls for residencies from the US. The competitive school has driven them to be the best they can and thus most of them aim to leave the country.
Their classmate, Fatima Sadiq, wants to leave for a year-long internship followed by a residency in the US while Asif Jafferani, the best graduate, wants to specialise in cardiac electrophysiology. While there are four to five cardiac electrophysiologists in the country, training in the field is not taught in Pakistan and he would like to bring the study to students here.
Nursing is no joke
“A lot of parents think that entering nursing is the end of their child’s future but it is not so,” AKU School of Nursing Dean Dr Rozina Karam Alani told The Express Tribune.
She explained that while more and more students are opting to become nurses, the profession still suffers because of its image and its low pay. While the government has raised doctor salaries, nurses make the same amount. Meanwhile, doctors can make more money through private practices while nurses cannot.
“It cost me up to Rs30,000, including fees, accommodation and other expenses during my education,” complained Kashif, a graduate originally from Sialkot. “While when I graduate the pay is hardly Rs20,000.”
There is scope for further education and growth in nursing, however. Students can complete Masters, PhDs, and research. As far as competition is concerned, she said that Dow University of Health Sciences, Baqai, Ziauddin, and Jinnah Postgraduate Medical Centre are all producing very competent professionals. However, there are about 50 alumni from AKUSON in top positions in the country, she boasted.
Zara Rafiq, who received the best graduate award in nursing, said that she sees the profession in conformity to what her religion preaches – to serve the community.
Published in The Express Tribune, November 13th, 2011.
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* 01 Nov 2011Post Graduate Medical Institute: PMA presses for new medical college
* 08 Oct 2011Medical agenda: Doctor
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.
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