Background Information

The Aga Khan health Services consist of a network of health programmes and institutions spanning both the developing, and more recently, the developed world. In 1983, the Health Services in India, Pakistan, Syria, Kenya, Tanzania and Bangladesh consist of some 200 health institutions, including 4 general hospitals, 4 maternity homes, 28 medical centres, 98 health centres and sub-centres, 19 dispensaries, 5 child care centres, 2 diagnostic centres and numerous food distribution centres. In Pakistan to reach rural areas with minor medical and immunisation services. All countries have significant programmes in school health, health education and preventive services.

McMaster Professor of Nursing, Mary Buzzell, has served as nursing consultant to the Aga Khan Health Services since 1980. She spends 50 days each year improving nursing standards and nursing education in the various facilities sponsored by the Aga Khan. In Kenya, Professor Buzzell has implemented staff development programmes at the Aga Khan Hospitals in Mombasa and Nairobi. She has worked with the Aga Khan Health Services in Dar-es-Salaam, Tanzania and Karachi, Pakistan as well. The Aga Khan Foundation has provided financial support for further education. A Kenyan, Mrs. Jedida Washira, is a graduate of McMaster's Master of Health Sciences program and has assumed a faculty position in the Advanced School of Nursing in Nairobi.

All institutions and programmes of the Aga Khan Health Services are non-profit and open to all people regardless of race or religion. In the implementation of many of its programmes, the Aga Khan Health Services work in close collaboration with international agencies, such as the World Health Organization (WHO), UNICEF and the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA).



A million and a half out-patients a year, the majority of whom are non-Ismailis, receive services through these institutions. Institutional efforts are complemented by health education, immunisation and outreach services. Recent efforts have emphasized educational training, including the opening of the Aga Khan school of Nursing in Karachi in September 1981. McMaster School of Nursing has been involved in the project since 1979 when Dr. Dorothy Kergin, former Director of the School of Nursing and Dr. Isabel Kay visited Karachi, Pakistan to assess the quality of nursing education and nursing service delivery to determine the kind of assistance required and to judge if McMaster could provide this assistance.

Winnifred Warkentin, a Canadian nurse with extensive nursing experience was requested by the McMaster School of Nursing to accompany them. Ms. Warkentin was subsequently appointed Director of Aga Khan School of Nursing in 1980.

In February 1983, the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) announced that the McMaster\Aga Khan project to develop Pakistani nurses who enrol in hospitals and community health service centres have been allocated $1,246,183 over the next three years. The monies will be used to send the McMaster School of Nursing Faculty of Karachi to develop curriculum and learning resources and to bring the Aga Khan Faculty to McMaster for periods of three months to three years. Dr. Susan French, Associate Dean (Nursing), Faculty of Health Science, is the Director of McMaster portion of the project.



The Aga Khan Health Services enjoy a long record of emphasis on public health and preventive medicine in urban centres but special emphasis has been placed on the rural areas of developing countries as the demography of many of these countries shows a strong and permanent majority of people living in rural as opposed to urban area.

Significant efforts have recently been made to add a strong curative and preventive care infrastructure which can complement government efforts in health care delivery.

The Aga Khan Health Services have provided leadership in the development of the non-profit voluntary health sector for over 60 years. As early as 1897, in Bombay, during a major epidemic of bubonic plague in the subcontinent, Sir Sultan Mohamed Shan had himself publicly inoculated to encourage the public to follow his example. In Pakistan, one of the first maternity hospitals in Karachi, the Janbai Maternity Home, was established by him in 1924. And in Kenya, the Platinum Jubilee Hospital was the first non-racial hospital in the country and was built with funds raised by the Ismaili Community together with a contribution from the Kenyan Government on the Occasion of the 70th anniversary of Sir Sultan Mohamed Shah Aga Khan's accession to the Imamat.

There are currently plans for the extension of many of the existing institutions as well as the creation of new ones, in particular during the Aga Khan's Silver Jubilee year. In Kisumu, Kenya, for example, there is a development plan underway to increase substantially the number of beds at the Aga Khan Medical Centre and in Tanzania, an extension plan for the Aga Khan Hospital in Dar-es-Sallam was launched in November 1982.

The Aga Khan Foundation, a private, non-communal social development institution, is a major supporter of the Aga Khan Health Services programmes. In November 1981 the Foundation joined with the World Health Organization (WHO) in cosponsoring an international conference on "The Role of Hospitals in Primary Health Care". The recommendations and conclusions of that Conference are now implemented within the network of institutions operated by the Aga Khan Health Services.

Much of the success of the Aga Khan Health Services' programmes can be attributed to voluntary workers presently numbering over four thousand, whose skills and dedication ensure the effectiveness and efficiency of the whole system. Their efforts are supported by paid professionals, and technical and financial support from the Aga Khan Foundation, United Nations agencies, international aid agencies and private donors.

March, 1983.