Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, 18 March 2005 - His Highness the Aga Khan, accompanied by his daughter Princess Zahra, today joined His Excellency, President Benjamin Mkapa in announcing the construction of the second phase of the Aga Khan Hospital in Dar es Salaam. The announcement was made at a foundation-stone laying ceremony that took place in the presence of government dignitaries, health officials, leaders and the general public.
The Aga Khan emphasised the commitment of the Aga Khan Development Network to invest in medical education and health care facilities to enable the delivery of patient care to an international standard. “Unless we make significant investments in education as well as new equipment and facilities, East Africa will fall further behind in health care delivery,” he said.
He attributed the vision behind the expansion of the Hospital to the extraordinary increase in knowledge of medical science over the last 40 years. Increased medical specialisation and advancements in medical technology have served to dramatically improve patient care. This in turn, explained the Aga Khan, affects the requirements for medical education and the facilities hospitals require.
Echoing the sentiments of President Mkapa on the need to educate and retain more indigenous professionals, the Aga Khan outlined the vision and wider regional health strategy of the Hospital as one that would “offer the best in training for medical specialists, nurses and medical technicians in East Africa. We will also have the facilities and the best equipment to enable them to practise in their chosen fields of expertise” he added.
The first phase of the hospital expansion, which opened five years ago, included a new emergency department, 18 out-patient consulting clinics, a laboratory and a pharmacy. It also had 56 new paediatric and medical-surgical in-patient beds. Since then, the hospital has been continually upgraded in keeping with advancements in technology. It recently acquired the country’s first MRI scanner that now enables patients to benefit from enhanced diagnostic accuracy. The hospital also has the capacity to provide specialist emergency treatment 24-hours, seven days a week – all of which have contributed to the hospital achieving the ISO9001 accreditation demonstrating that its quality systems are of an international standard. In 2004 all Aga Khan Hospitals throughout the world achieved the ISO9001 accreditation.
During the past five years the number of patients attending the Aga Khan Hospital has doubled and the Phase II expansion will enable this trend to continue. The development includes five state-of-the-art operating theatres, a 12 bed intensive care unit, a comprehensive radiology imaging department and a new maternity and neonatal intensive care unit. To complement these services, the existing hospital will receive an expanded pharmacy department and an enhanced casualty and family medicine facilities. Further improvements will be made in the radiology department, in ultrasound capacity and in the area of physiotherapy, thereby elevating the hospital to an even higher standard.
“The best training can only be put into practice with the right facilities,” said the Aga Khan. “The aim of the Aga Khan Hospital is to create a virtuous circle of excellent training combined with the best facilities to increase the range of medical specialities at the hospital. That in turn will increase the capacity to train others,” he elaborated. The nursing programme currently trains nurses from Tanzania, Uganda and Kenya and is the most successful in East Africa with more than 400 graduates. From this hospital alone, more than 45 nurses are enrolled in diploma and degree programmes- half of all the hospital nursing staff.
The hospital will be part of a regional teaching hospital network, through linkages with the Aga Khan University Health Sciences Faculty, the Aga Khan University School of Nursing, and the Aga Khan teaching hospital. Partnerships are also in place with the Muhimbili College of Health Sciences at the University of Dar es Salaam and rotations for specialising physicians help them to gain valuable clinical experience. Medical staff will be trained in new procedures by renowned experts from abroad. In the past six months, for example, the number of patients benefiting from keyhole surgery has increased substantially due to the assistance of an international specialist.
“Bringing better health care to Tanzanians is a significant task that requires the major commitment of educators and health care providers and governments throughout the region,” concluded the Aga Khan. “The Aga Khan Hospital and its sister facilities throughout East Africa are only a small part of that large grouping of players. But the hospital is committed to continuing the investments in education, processes and facilities to do its part. We want to attract and retain the best of medical practitioners.”
The Ceremony was undertaken in the grounds of the Aga Khan Hospital where His Highness the Aga Khan and Princess Zahra accompanied President Mkapa, and the Minister of Health, Anna Abdullah, on a brief tour of some of the hospital’s recent developments.
For further information, please contact: Lawrence Hamilton, CEO
P.O. Box 2289
Ocean Road, Dar es Salaam
Fax : +255.22.211.5904
Notes: Providing high quality health care and raising the health status of people in East Africa are the broad goals of the AKDN for the health sector. They are addressed through an emphasis, in current projects, on health systems development, strengthened by new regional programmes and investments. AKHS has facilities in Tanzania and Kenya that provide over 600,000 patients per year with care in both rural and urban, and preventive and curative contexts: its hospitals provide an increasingly comprehensive range of high-quality clinical services.
The Aga Khan Development Network is a group of private, non-denominational development agencies whose mandates range from the fields of health and education to architecture, culture, rural development and the promotion of private-sector enterprise. Its agencies and institutions, working together, seek to empower communities and individuals, often in disadvantaged circumstances, to improve living conditions and opportunities, especially in countries in sub-Saharan Africa and South and Central Asia.