Kabul, Afghanistan, 20 October 2012 - The Foundation Ceremony of the new Women’s Wing at the French Medical Institute for Children (FMIC) marked the start of construction for a new obstetrics and gynaecology wing on the hospital premises that will provide high quality care for mothers and newborns in Afghanistan. The building, which will take 24 months to complete, will offer 52 additional beds for obstetric and gynecologic care and a 14-bed neonatal intensive care unit -- the first in Afghanistan.
His Excellency Karim Khalili, Vice President of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, His Highness Prince Karim Aga Khan, and His Excellency Laurent Fabius, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the French Republic, were the guests for the occasion.
In a speech at the ceremony the Aga Khan hailed the FMIC’s standards of excellence and said the facility was making Afghanistan’s health care system more self-reliant.
“What all of this means for Afghanistan, quite simply, is that people here no longer need to feel they must venture outside the country in order to get quality health care,” he said, adding that he regarded the FMIC and its expansion as part of broader effort to bring quality medical care not only to Afghanistan but also the neighbouring areas. He also announced longer-term plans to build an international medical centre serving the entire region on a plot adjacent to the hospital.
The hospital’s new US$ 17.7 million wing will be financed by the Government of France (US$ 11.7 million) and the Aga Khan Development Network (US$ 6 million). The start of services is planned for early 2015. A dedicated team from FMIC and the Aga Khan University (AKU) will oversee the progress of the project.
France’s Minister for Foreign Affairs, Laurent Fabius, described the Kabul hospital and its staff as exemplary. He said he was greeted at the hospital door by a five-year old girl who had an open heart surgery just days ago. “What other justification does one need?” he said.
Afghanistan’s vice president, Karim Khalili, also lauded FMIC’s work. “FMIC has achieved many successes since its inception and has achieved excellence in many fields in healthcare in Afghanistan,” he said.
The French Medical Institute for Children, inaugurated in 2006, is a public-private partnership between the Government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, the Government of France, the Aga Khan Development Network (AKDN) and the French organization “La Chaîne de l’Espoir”. The Hospital is managed and operated by the Aga Khan University (AKU), which is an agency of the AKDN.
In a brief address at the foundation ceremony the president of La Chaine de l’Espoir, Dr Eric Cheysson, described the occasion as a moment of “great emotion, honour and a fulfillment of a dream”.
In the last six years, FMIC has introduced advanced techniques in pediatric care, such as pediatric cardiac surgery, spine surgery and laparoscopic surgeries for children. In 2009, the services of the FMIC were certified as compliant with ISO 9001:2008 standards, which reflects their quality. The FMIC has also started its first Post Graduate Medical Education (PGME) programs in pediatric medicine and pediatric surgery in co-operation with the Ministry of Public Health and the AKU in Karachi, Pakistan. The hospital is also the hub for telemedicine in the country, providing services to hospitals in Bamyan and Faizabad.
The introduction of the new obstetric and gynecology services follows the initial plan of the partners to establish a comprehensive Mother and Child Hospital and to respond to the needs of the Afghan population in health care. The principles of capacity building for local health care providers, which has been established at the FMIC, will be maintained and extended to services for the care of women and newborns country wide.
For more information contact:
Dr Bashir Sakhizada
Aga Khan Development Network
1-3 avenue de la Paix
1202 Geneva Switzerland
Tel. +41 22 909 7200
The French Medical Institute for Children (FMIC) was founded in 2006 through a unique public-private partnership between the Governments of Afghanistan and France, a French NGO called La Chaine de L’Espoir/Enfants Afghans and the Aga Khan Development Network (through the Aga Khan University). FMIC opened its doors to offer healthcare of the highest standard in the country and at par with the best medical institutions in the region. Starting with pediatric surgical care, including general and orthopedic surgery, FMIC was soon providing services in pediatric medicine, cardiology, neurosurgery, cardiac surgery, pediatric plastic surgery and anesthesia. The hospital now has 85 beds, including 15 in intensive care.
The Aga Khan Development Network (AKDN), which was founded by His Highness the Aga Khan, the 49th hereditary Imam (spiritual leader) of the Ismaili Muslims, is a group of private, non-denominational development agencies working to empower communities and individuals to improve living conditions and opportunities, especially in sub-Saharan Africa, Central and South Asia, and the Middle East. The Network’s nine development agencies focus on social, cultural and economic development for all citizens, regardless of gender, origin or religion. The AKDN’s underlying ethic is compassion for the vulnerable in society. Its annual budget for philanthropic activity is in excess of US$ 600 million.
Aga Khan University (AKU) is an agency of Aga Khan Development Network (AKDN), founded by His Highness the Aga Khan in 1983. The Aga Khan University’s objective is “to be on the frontiers of scientific and humanistic knowledge” while inspiring students to be independent learners and researchers imbued with a spirit of service and respect for others. In the 28 years since its founding, Aga Khan University’s major focus has been in the fields of health and education. For the decades ahead the University plans to step beyond success in these areas and become a more diversified university, both geographically and academically.