Nurses are recognised as the principal component of “front line” health staff in most countries and play an especially important role in the health systems of developing countries.New AKU Faculty of Health Sciences Campus in Nairobi
On 13 August 2007, His Highness the Aga Khan, accompanied by Professor George Saitoti, Kenyan Minister for Education, inaugurated the Faculty of Health Sciences of the Aga Khan University (AKU-FHS) - East Africa’s first premier private medical school (View Press Release). The US $250 million health sciences campus, to be established in Nairobi, aims to provide an international standard of education for doctors, nurses and allied health professionals. It will comprise a Medical College, a School of Nursing and allied health programmes, and will offer degrees at bachelors, masters and PhD levels. The campus will consist of academic facilities, student residences, a library, student centre and an auditorium, as well as sports facilities. In addition, significant expansion of the hospital will also take place to support the growth in academic programmes.
The AKU FHS will be a major part of an expansion of the Aga Khan University in Eastern Africa. On 19 August 2007, His Highness the Aga Khan announced plans to build a major new university campus in Arusha, in north-eastern Tanzania. The US$ 450-million complex will be developed over the coming 15 years. In developing the multiple campuses and new programmes in Arusha and Nairobi, AKU will invest a total of over $700 million in the region over the next fifteen years, providing direct employment to approximately 4,000 people on an ongoing basis. Already, fully one third of the students attending AKU campuses worldwide are from East Africa; at full capacity, the new East Africa campuses will educate 3000 students.
Advanced Nursing Studies are also offered in Kenya and Tanzania. Nurses are recognised as the principal component of “front line” health staff in most countries and play an especially important role in the health systems of developing countries. In 1993, the Aga Khan University (AKU) began to study how best to implement a large-scale in-service training programme to upgrade nursing skills across the East Africa region. The result was the Advanced Nursing Studies Programme (AKU-ANS). Developed at the request of nursing leaders and their respective governments, the programme offers continuing and higher education up to BScN level to working nurses, allowing nurses to remain at their workplaces while pursuing professional development.
Launched six years later, the Programme has since allowed practising nurses to learn and apply new skills needed to improve the management and quality of patient care. It has also enabled in-service nurses to accumulate academic credits needed for career advancement. The ANS programme includes:
Diploma in Nursing Conversion, Enrolled Nurse - Registered Nurse (EN-RN)
A diploma in nursing which has been offered in distance learning mode since 2006 in Tanzania aims to upgrade the knowledge and skills of Enrolled Nurses to the level of Registered Nurses. Students follow modules covering general nursing skills and health-care practices through specially designed materials that allow for study at home and in the workplace, including audio-visual tutorials. Discussions with lecturers are also organised, along with clinical practicums that are supervised by qualified Registered Nurses trained by AKU-ANS. The course takes 24 months (four semesters) to complete.
Bachelor of Science Degree in Nursing
AKU-ANS also offers a two-and-a-half-year Bachelor of Science degree in Nursing. This programme is designed to give senior Registered Nurses the opportunity to upgrade their diplomas to degree level, and to allow them to acquire the in-depth knowledge and skills necessary to understand and influence the development of health-care reform in the country. The clinical practicums are conducted in the student’s workplace under the supervision of staff trained by the AKU-ANS programme.
AKU’s Improving Nursing Education and Practice in East Africa (INEPEA) project is establishing a Knowledge Network of higher education institutions concerned with the training of nurses and midwives in Uganda, Kenya and Tanzania. The aim of the Knowledge Network is to design and develop a common curriculum for continuing nurse education that will ultimately strengthen health systems across the region. The project brings together AKU’s Advanced Nursing Studies Programme, Kenyatta University’s School of Health Sciences, Makerere University’s Faculty of Medicine and Zanzibar College of Health Sciences.
Over 360,000 people are treated at AKHS facilities and health centres.In Kenya, the primary health care programmes of the Aga Khan Health Services (AKHS) are designed to reach vulnerable groups, especially rural and remote communities and lower middle-income urban families. AKHS’s facilities in Kenya provide care in both rural and urban, and preventive and curative, contexts with its hospitals offering an increasingly comprehensive range of high-quality clinical services. Over 360,000 people are treated at AKHS facilities and health centres. An additional 100,000 are served through AKHS community health programmes. Its outreach facilities are anchored by hospitals in Kisumu, Mombasa and Nairobi.
The Aga Khan Hospital, Mombasa
Established in 1944, the Aga Khan Hospital, Mombasa is a 96-bed acute care facility that provides general medical services, specialist clinics and high-tech diagnostic services. It is also part of the AKHS international referral system, with links to the Aga Khan Hospital, Nairobi and the Aga Khan University Hospital, Karachi. In 2004, the Hospital was awarded the ISO 9001:2000 (International Standardisation Organisation) certification for conforming to International Quality Assurance standards for its systems and processes. This certification is awarded only when a hospital’s clinical, diagnostic, administrative and support services conform to the ISO standards.
The Aga Khan Hospital, Kisumu
Established in 1952, the Aga Khan Hospital, Kisumu is a 76-bed acute care facility offering quality health care. The Hospital provides general medicine services, specialist clinics and high-tech diagnostic services and has a well-equipped 24 hour emergency Casualty Department. It is also part of the Aga Khan Health Services (AKHS) international referral system. In 2004, it was also awarded the ISO 9001:2000 (International Standardisation Organisation) certificate.
Aga Khan University Hospital (AKUH)
The site of the AKU’s new Faculty of Health Sciences will be Aga Khan University Hospital (AKUH) in Nairobi, AKU’s premier teaching site in East Africa. AKUH has become an important referral centre not only for Kenya but for the whole east African region. Established in 1958, the AKUH is a 254-bed long-term care facility offering general medical services, specialist clinics and state of the art diagnostic services. In 2003, the Hospital was awarded the ISO 9001: 2000 certificate. The Hospital actively participates in outreach health activities, for example, by providing free clinics in peri-urban areas of Nairobi as part of the National Immunisation Campaign.
For more information, please see the Hospital website.
The Aga Khan Foundation is supporting projects which improve the health of vulnerable groups, like women, by enhancing their socio-economic status.Community-based Primary Health Care
Along with this investment in hospital services, AKDN’s work in East Africa also entails a commitment to developing effective approaches to disease prevention and health promotion. In a health system framework, care begins outside the hospital or health centre, with community-based primary health care. In the 1980s, AKHS and AKF created primary health care projects in Kisumu and Kwale, two rural districts in Kenya. The projects have trained people in the Kisumu and Kwale communities in primary health care technologies and management, and catalysed community-based efforts to increase safe water supplies. In other projects in Kenya, AKF is working with government services to develop tools for health sector policy design and resource allocation. AKDN’s international experience in primary health care management and information systems, acquired through its management advancement programme, is an important resource in this area. AKF is also supporting projects, which improve the health of vulnerable groups, like women, by enhancing their socio-economic status.
Assuring the sustainability of their services and improving access to them is a concern for all the AKDN health institutions and projects, from the PHC to the tertiary care level. Towards this end, user fees are set for all services, even the most highly subsidised. Hospitals use any operating surpluses to subsidise the increasing cost of care. Developing effective mechanisms for referral is another way of improving access. AKDN’s current hospital expansion will improve referral processes through better diagnostic services at all levels.
AKHS is also offering an increasing range of services on the first level of care, including care in the community (for conditions which do not require hospitalisation), primary medical care, workers' health, health worker training and health systems research. The Community Health Department (CHD) of Aga Khan Health Service, Kenya (AKHS,K) works in partnership with community-based health and social organisations, Non-governmental Organisations (NGOs), and Ministry of Health where it provides support from the dispensary level through to the national level. It works to demonstrate effective provision of primary care services through capacity building (training), and development of efficient and useful Health Management Information System (HMIS) at household (community-based HIS) as well as facilities at all levels of care.
The regional health programme also includes human resource and training components for personnel from other institutions in the region, both public and private, as well as AKDN own facilities.
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