Vote of thanks by Aga Khan University President Firoz Rasul in Uganda
Your Highness the Aga Khan The Right Honourable Ruhakana Rugunda, the Prime Minister of Uganda Honourable Ministers of Uganda Members of the Diplomatic Corps Trustees of the Aga Khan University Distinguished Guests Ladies and Gentlemen As a regional university in East Africa, today marks a major step for the Aga Khan University as we establish a much larger presence in Uganda, in addition to our growing footprint in Kenya and Tanzania. The Aga Khan University, as a young institution celebrating 15 years in East Africa, has already made a major contribution in developing leaders in both health care and education. Our Institute for Educational Development in Dar es Salaam has graduated nearly 200 individuals with a master’s degree in education, and trained thousands more through certificate and short courses. Last year, the Institute worked with the Government of Uganda and the World Bank to train more than 800 secondary school head teachers from across the country in leadership and management. Our School of Nursing and Midwifery here in Kampala has graduated more than 500 nurses, and we have Schools of Nursing and Midwifery in Kenya and Tanzania as well. Our postgraduate medical education in Kenya and Tanzania has produced surgeons, paediatricians, radiologists, obstetricians, and other specialists who are badly needed in those countries – well, we plan to do the same in Uganda. Our Graduate School of Media and Communications is helping journalists, communications experts and media managers enhance their professional competencies. And in total, more than 2,300 men and women have graduated from the Aga Khan University in East Africa. In addition, the Aga Khan University Hospital in Nairobi and its clinics receive and treat over 600,000 people each year. And as you have heard from our Chancellor, this form of service is something we also hope to bring to Uganda. On behalf of the Aga Khan University, I want to begin by thanking – as part of this vote of thanks – President Museveni and the Government of Uganda for their strong support and encouragement for building a University Hospital in Kampala. Without this support in the form of the grant of the land, we would not be here today. So Right Honourable Prime Minister, if you would please express to His Excellency, that we understand very clearly that Uganda urgently needs a hospital that is equipped to provide advanced care, that meets the highest quality standards, that can educate health professionals who are prepared to act as leaders within Uganda’s health sector – we clearly understand that. I would like to express our profound gratitude to His Highness the Aga Khan, the Founder and Chancellor of our University for his unwavering commitment to providing world-class health care and education in the developing world, and in East Africa in particular. Without His Highness’s commitment we would not be here to build a new University Hospital in Kampala. I would also like to express our deep appreciation to the University’s many donors and partners. Your support is enabling us to make an impact, and today’s announcement is another example of the difference the University is making thanks to your generosity. I want to convey special thanks to all those who have assisted the University in our efforts to date. From those who helped us identify and assess options for land, to those who’ve conducted extensive site and market research to inform our feasibility studies, and those who’ve assisted in negotiating this historic agreement. We could not have done this without you. And I cannot forget all the volunteers who have helped organise these two ceremonies that you have witnessed today – at the Nakawa site and at the Serena here today. I can tell you that the transformation of the two sites is absolutely remarkable, and befitting of this important occasion that we are celebrating today. For us, now the hard work begins. At the same time that we move forward with the site planning, design and construction, we will be recruiting and training doctors, nurses and other health professionals. And seeking donors and supporters interested in the realisation of this vision. We look forward, as you have just heard from our Chancellor, to undertaking this journey for the establishment of the Aga Khan University Hospital. Thank you. I would now like to invite His Highness the Aga Khan and the Right Honourable Prime Minister to unveil the plaque, which marks this historic day.