Gilgit, Pakistan, 25 November 2021 – Two state-of-the-art health facilities – an expansion of the Aga Khan Medical Centre in Gilgit and construction of a new Aga Khan Health Centre in Hunza – are underway to ensure continuity of quality healthcare services to the people of Gilgit-Baltistan. Aga Khan facilities have been providing quality care and services in the region since 1974 and the current expansion complements the Government’s efforts to attain Sustainable Development Goals in health.
The shifting disease burden, changes in the health service delivery landscape and access to health care have led to the development of a “hub and spokes model”. Smaller sites (spokes) refer critical cases to a bigger centre (hub) so that patients can consult doctors in the larger facility. Teleconsultation also facilitates this process, bringing the expertise of physicians at state-of-the-art centres to some of the most remote valleys – while patients avoid travelling to large hospitals.
The expansion of the Aga Khan Medical Centre in Gilgit will more than double capacity from 46 to 112 beds by 2023, transforming it into a fully functional general hospital. Services in the new wing will include acute and critical care, CT scans, dermatology, cardiology, dialysis, ophthalmology, teleconsultations and tele-ICU services, emergency medicine, oxygen generation, a full PCR lab and a blood bank.
At the groundbreaking ceremony, Chief Minister of Gilgit-Baltistan Khalid Khurshid highlighted that the scale-up of services will play a pivotal role in addressing the evolving health needs and increasing burden of disease in Gilgit-Balistan.
In Aliabad, the construction of a new 30-bed facility will be the first purpose-built, private, not-for-profit secondary level healthcare facility in Hunza. With the greater prevalence of non-communicable diseases in the region and a burgeoning tourism sector, modern and well-equipped healthcare facilities in the region will play an important role in addressing the health needs of Hunza and its surrounding areas. The Centre is expected to begin operations in 2023.
“Not only will people of Hunza and its surrounding benefit from this health centre, but it will be beneficial to the entire region of Gilgit-Baltistan,” said Gilgit-Baltistan Legislative Assembly Speaker Syed Amjad Ali Zaidi at the groundbreaking ceremony.
This year, Aga Khan health facilities in Gilgit-Baltistan have added new services including advanced diagnostics, ophthalmology, cardiology, nephrology, urology and dermatology. They have also supported the Government’s COIVD-19 vaccination drive and established pandemic-focused ICU services backed with Tele-ICU – a first of its kind in the region.
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