Within the AKDN, activities in the domain of health are carried out by the Aga Khan Health Services (AKHS), the Aga Khan Planning and Building Services (AKPBS), The Aga Khan University (AKU) and the Aga Khan Foundation (AKF). AKHS delivers health services through over 200 health facilities, including nine hospitals. AKPBS installs water supply and sanitation systems and promotes the construction of safe and hygienic housing. AKU, based in Karachi, Pakistan, and Nairobi, Kenya, operates a university teaching hospital, trains health providers including nurses, physicians and allied health professionals - in Pakistan and East Africa - and carries out health research, often in concert with other agencies.
Natural disasters in developing countries can have a particularly devastating effect, taking lives and wiping out the hard-earned assets of poor people in a matter of minutes. Compounding this loss is the destruction of vital buildings, including health facilities that are central to recovery but which are often as vulnerable as other parts of the infrastructure. More
With community health programmes in large geographical areas in Central and South Asia, as well as East Africa, and more than 200 health facilities including nine hospitals, the Aga Khan Health Services (AKHS) is one of the most comprehensive private not-for-profit health care systems in the developing world. AKHS now provides primary health care and curative medical care in Afghanistan, India, Kenya, Pakistan, and Tanzania, and provides technical assistance to government in health service delivery in Kenya, Syria and Tajikistan.
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AKU provides post-graduate training of health service professionals, teachers and managers of schools, and the development of research scholars. It has 11 teaching sites spread over eight countries - Afghanistan, Kenya, Pakistan, Tanzania, Uganda, Syria, Egypt and the United Kingdom. It also provides training and technical assistance in a number of other developing countries in South and Central Asia and Africa.
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AKF plays a key role in promoting AKDN’s community health agenda by developing approaches that enable poorer communities, both rural and urban, to acquire the knowledge and skills needed to protect and promote good health. AKF believes that effective community health programmes promote and build on existing community structures, belief patterns, local resources and local participation to achieve defined health gains. The goal of the community health programme, therefore, is to improve the health status of children under five and women of reproductive age (15 to 45), who continue to bear the largest burden of morbidity and mortality in developing countries, and to reduce the prevalence and severity of emerging, re-emerging, persistent and non-communicable diseases.
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AKPBS provides material and technical assistance and construction management services that lead to improvements in the built environment, particularly through housing design and construction, village planning, natural hazard mitigation, environmental sanitation, water supplies, and other living conditions. Two flagship programmes are of particular importance for the improvement of overall health: The Water and Sanitation Programme (WASEP), which designs integrated water supply infrastructure and works with local communities to help prevent water related diseases though improved hygiene and sanitation practices; and the Building and Construction Improvement Programme, which works to improve the built environment in ways that enhance living conditions for the most vulnerable and disadvantaged populations. It has designed over 60 low-cost solutions - including smoke-free stoves, low-cost insulation, earthquake-resistant buildings, solar energy panels - that address quality-of-life issues among disadvantaged populations.
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