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Aga Khan Hospital Nairobi Upgraded to University Hospital - High Quality Programmes on Heart and Cancer Diseases for Kenyan Patients to be Introduced

Aga Khan Hospital Nairobi took a major step in its evolution as a premier teaching and tertiary care referral hospital when it formally came under the management of Aga Khan University (AKU) on July 01, 2005. Plans for the University Hospital include development of state-of-the-art programmes for the management of major illnesses including cardiovascular diseases and cancer, which will save many Kenyan patients the significant expense and inconvenience of travelling abroad for treatment.

Established in 1958 and currently a 254-bed facility, the hospital had been operating under the aegis of Aga Khan Health Service, Kenya. This decision to upgrade the Hospital was taken by the Chancellor of AKU, His Highness the Aga Khan in consultation with the Board of Trustees of AKU.

Renamed Aga Khan University Hospital, Nairobi (AKUH, Nairobi) and duly registered and licensed by the Medical Practitioners and Dentists Board of Kenya, the new institution will be AKU�s principal Health Science teaching facility in East Africa. The University Hospital is focusing on high quality of care, research and Postgraduate Medical Education (PGME) in all major clinical specialities including medicine, surgery, radiology, pathology, anaesthesia, obstetrics-gynaecology and paediatrics. AKUH (Nairobi) will also continue to play a vital role as a major teaching site for the Advanced Nursing Studies (ANS) programme of AKU, which has provided continuing professional education and undergraduate courses for practicing nurses in Kenya, Tanzania, and Uganda since 2001.

Commenting on the upgradation of the Hospital, Mr Azim Virjee, Chairman of the Aga Khan Health Service Kenya, said, � The transition to a University Hospital will make quality health care more accessible to a broader cross-section of the local population. The University has done this at Aga Khan University Hospital in Karachi, Pakistan by mobilising funds in support of a Patient Welfare Programme and expects to do the same in East Africa.

AKU�s Postgraduate Medical Education Programmes, which have been offered at AKUH Nairobi) and the Aga Khan Hospital in Dar-es-Salaam since 2004, are specially designed to respond to the health needs of the region. By training independent specialists ready to take up practising posts in public and private sector hospitals in East Africa, AKUH (Nairobi) aims to assist in significantly enhancing the number of qualified professionals in specialist care in a region that has long suffered from workforce attrition and an increasing disease burden.

The upgrading to a University Hospital under AKU will enable us to have significant positive impact on the quality of medical care and to provide the necessary clinical experience to meet its educational objectives. Introduction of modern facilities and installation of advanced information technology will ensure the necessary support for clinical work of the highest quality� said Mr Sagie Pillay, Chief Executive Officer of AKUH (Nairobi).

An essential feature of any University Hospital is to teach as well as to conduct research in endemic health problems of the region,� said Prof. Peter Ojwang, Chair of Pathology at AKUH (Nairobi). Over the past two decades, the Aga Khan University has established a solid track record of research and appreciates that the health problems of East Africa, beset by economic difficulties and low development indicators, can be addressed through relevant research focusing on evolving low-cost and accessible solutions. We, the faculty and students at AKU are delighted to have AKUH (Nairobi) as the latest centre for research in this part of the world.�

With this new development, AKU and AKUH (Nairobi) also aim to strengthen existing partnerships with the Ministry of Health and other Kenyan universities offering health education, with a view to share experiences, strengthen public sector delivery systems and collaborate on teaching and research.