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  • His Highness the Aga Khan and Professor George Saitoti, Kenyan Minister for Education unveil a plaque to commemorate the launch of the Faculty of Health Sciences.
    AKDN/Zahir Daya
Aga Khan University announces the Faculty of Health Sciences in East Africa

Nairobi, Kenya, 13 August 2007 - His Highness the Aga Khan, Chancellor of the Aga Khan University, accompanied by Professor George Saitoti, Kenyan Minister for Education, today inaugurated the Faculty of Health Sciences of the Aga Khan University (AKU-FHS) – East Africa’s first premier private medical school.

The US $250 million health sciences campus to be established in Nairobi, aims to provide international standard 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 Faculty aims to build local capacity and will enable implementation of health care services with world class infrastructure and quality. The campus will consist of academic facilities, student residences and amenities which will include a library, student centre and auditorium as well as sports facilities. In addition, significant expansion of the hospital will also take place to support the growth in academic programmes.

Speaking at the launch of the Faculty, the Aga Khan, who is also founder and Chairman of the Aga Khan Development Network (AKDN), commented, “Building on the success of its existing programmes – the Aga Khan University is planning to establish a new Faculty of Health Sciences here in Nairobi. To my knowledge, this will be the first private sector university in Eastern Africa to create a full-fledged Faculty of Health Sciences offering under-graduate and post-graduate degrees in Medicine, Nursing and the allied health sciences”.

The Faculty is the first social development initiative announced by the Aga Khan as part of his Golden Jubilee celebrations, marking his 50 years as the Imam (spiritual leader) of the Shia Ismaili Muslims.

In keeping with the Aga Khan University’s overall vision in Africa, to provide quality healthcare and education in the region, the AKU-FHS will focus on producing effective leaders in health care through professional health education, engaging in best practices and developing self sustaining models of health care delivery. In addition, the AKU-FHS will promote relevant high impact research, particularly in the areas of health services and epidemiology that will have an impact on influencing health policy.

Kenya’s Education Minister Professor George Saitoti, said the Aga Khan initiative could not come at a better time. “Our public universities are able to absorb only about 10,000 students each year, representing 20 to 26 percent of candidates who attain a mean grade of C+ and above,” he said. The minister noted that the government attached particular importance to health and education in its long-term Economic Recovery Strategy. “Health and education are key sectors we have identified as pillars in the vision 2030,” he said .

Work on the new Faculty’s Heart and Cancer Centre is expected to commence later this year. This US $40 million initiative will replace and enhance existing facilities in surgery, obstetrics, critical care and imaging, and provide facilities for the tertiary treatment services in cardiology and cancer. The Centre will serve communities in the Eastern Africa region and will enable the hospital to educate residents and nurses in an innovative, technology-enabled teaching environment.

The Aga Khan University (AKU) was established and chartered in 1983 as an international university within the Aga Khan Development Network (AKDN), a group of private, non-denominational development agencies and institutions working together to improve living conditions and opportunities in over 30 of the poorest countries in the developing world. The University has 11 teaching sites in 8 countries, including the Aga Khan University Hospital in Nairobi which has been in operation in Nairobi for over 50 years under the aegis of the Aga Khan Health Services. The transition to the Aga Khan University Hospital commenced in 2005 with a vision of becoming a premier tertiary, teaching and referral hospital serving sub-Saharan Africa.

Today one-third of the total AKU student body worldwide is enrolled in academic programmes in Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania. The Advanced Nursing Studies Programme delivers certificate and degree programmes to upgrade the quality of nursing in all three countries, while Postgraduate Medical Education Programmes in Nairobi and Dar es Salaam provide advanced training to aspiring medical specialists. In addition, the University has launched the Institute of Educational Development also in Dar es Salaam to enable teachers to upgrade their capabilities by learning from innovative curriculum design, pedagogy and assessment.

The AKU is committed to the development of leaders in East Africa, and pays particular attention to equipping them with critical thinking and problem solving skills to enable them to address the challenges facing their own communities and societies; at full capacity, there will be 3000 students. In developing the multiple campuses and new programmes in East Africa, AKU will invest over $700 million in the region over the next fifteen years, providing direct employment to approximately 4,000 people on an ongoing basis.

For more information, please contact:
Asmita Gillani
Chief Executive Officer
Aga Khan University Hospital, Nairobi
Tel: +254 20 3750185

Wanjiru Mwangi Ruhanga
Communications Officer
AKDN Kenya
E-mail: Tel: + 254 721 217 499

Semin Abdulla
Information Officer
Secretariat of His Highness the Aga Khan
Tel: + 254 733 530 053 


Golden Jubilee of His Highness the Aga Khan

His Highness the Aga Khan completed his 50th year as the 49th hereditary Imam of the Shia Ismaili Muslims on 11th July 2007, succeeding his grandfather, Sir Sultan Mahomed Shah. The Aga Khan leads a community of 15 million Ismaili Muslims living in some 25 countries around the world and is a direct descendant of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him and his family). In the Ismaili tradition, the Imam’s Jubilee celebrations offer occasions to launch new social, cultural and economic development projects. In keeping with the ethics of the faith, these projects aspire to improve the quality of life for the most vulnerable in society. During the Jubilee year, the Aga Khan is expected to travel to a number of countries to meet with members of the Ismaili community and visit projects of the AKDN. He is also likely to announce the creation of new development institutions and projects and the significant expansion of existing ones.

The Aga Khan Development Network

His Highness the Aga Khan is founder and Chairman of the Aga Khan Development Network (AKDN), 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$ 300 million.