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Speech by Princess Zahra Aga Khan at the Launch of the Oncology Programme of the Aga Khan Hospital, Dar es Salaam

27 January 2014

 

Please also see: Press Release

Honourable Minister of Health and Social Welfare,
Dr. Seif Rashid,
His Excellency Marcel Escure,
Ambassador of France in Tanzania,
Ladies and Gentlemen:

Please allow me first and foremost to welcome you all on this lovely day to the Aga Khan Hospital, Dar es Salaam. We are truly grateful for your presence in what is a very important and exciting day in the life of this institution.

I would like to start by congratulating the Honourable Minister on his appointment, (which I understand happened) only a few days ago and as such I am truly grateful that in spite of his many commitments and only his first week in office, he very graciously accepted our invitation to be the Guest of Honour at today’s event. This truly is a testimony of his commitment and of the excellent relations and partnership between the Government of Tanzania and the Aga Khan Development Network. Thank you Honourable Minister. We truly appreciate your presence and support.

Today we are proud to launch the Oncology Programme, the first programme to be introduced as part of the Phase 2 expansion of the Aga Khan Hospital, Dar es Salaam. This phase of expansion will see the development of comprehensive programmes in cardiology, oncology, neurosciences, critical care, maternal and child health and advanced diagnostics. The new facilities are being designed by leading international and Tanzanian based hospital planners, architects and engineers, which will see new construction of almost 13,000 square meters, renovations of almost 6000 square metres and will double the hospital’s capacity to over 150 beds. The development will also provide an opportunity for capacity building and additional recruitment resulting in a total staff complement of 800+ healthcare and other professionals who will be responsible for providing much needed and high-end clinical services.

Ladies and Gentlemen, we are committed to achieving the vision of the Aga Khan Development Network to be the premier teaching healthcare system in Tanzania. Aside from the hospital expansion, and in addition to the 5 existing Aga Khan Health Services Primary Health Care Centres in the country, we will establish an additional 30 outreach health centres that will be closely linked in a hub and spoke model with the hospital to create a true integrated system that provides access to quality affordable health care.

We know that we cannot achieve this ambitious agenda alone and we are most cognizant and grateful for all the meaningful and value partnerships, in particular with the Government of Tanzania. An example of such public private partnership is the Canadian-funded programme in maternal, newborn and child health whereby we work with the Ministry of Health in 31 government health facilities spread over 15 districts with the aim of providing access to good quality maternal and new born child health. We are grateful to the Canadian Government through its Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development for their support.

Ladies and Gentlemen, health sciences education, both in the medical and nursing fields is an important part of our vision. Led by the Aga Khan University, we will establish in the coming years, post graduate residency programmes in all specialities at the Aga Khan Hospital in Dar. There is also an ambitious agenda for nursing education imparting specialized nursing skills across the programmes. As part of our overall phase 2 expansion plans, 42 Tanzanian healthcare professionals will travel oversees for training and further education including short trainings, courses and fellowship programmes, for example, in interventional cardiology and oncology and cardiac surgery.

One of the central tenets to ensuring we achieve our vision is a strong focus on International standards of healthcare. In October 2003, the Aga Khan Hospital, Dar es Salaam, together with the Primary Medical Centres, became the first and only healthcare system in the country to attain the ISO 9001:2000 Certification for high quality standards in healthcare provision. The Aga Khan Hospital in Dar es Salaam, part of the AKDN health system in East Africa, is working towards achieving the prestigious Joint Commission International Accreditation (JCIA). These rigorous international healthcare facility standards will ensure patients are receiving quality care provided by well-trained staff in a safe environment. The Aga Khan University Hospital in Nairobi became the first healthcare institution in East Africa to attain this certification in July 2013.

Ladies and Gentlemen, our investment in the expansion of the Aga Khan Hospital, Dar es Salaam and the outreach facilities represents $80 million, funded by way of a grant by the Aga Khan Development Network and a sizeable concessional loan from L’Agence Française de Développement (AFD). AFD and the Aga Khan Development Network have a long history of cooperation and we are extremely grateful to the French Government, represented here today by the Ambassador and the Head of AFD responsible for Tanzania, Mr. Christophe Barat.

I am also delighted to inform you that work is on schedule for establishing our cardiac program, another integral component of our Phase II expansion, to open in July this year. This program will include a state of the art cath lab and other cardiac services.

I would like to conclude by once again thanking the Honourable Minister, the French Ambassador, and all our dignitaries and invitees for being here with us and sharing in this occasion.

Thank you.

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