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AKU breaks ground on new research facility 2019-01-27

Sunday, 2019, January 27
The Express Tribune
By PPI Published: January 27, 2019


Aga Khan University (AKU) held the groundbreaking ceremony of the Centre of Excellence in Women and Child Health (CoEWCH) building on its Stadium Road campus on Saturday.

“The Centre will be the first of its kind in low and middle-income countries,” said Professor Zulfiqar Bhutta, the founding director of the CoEWCH and co-director of the SickKids Centre for Global Child Health in Toronto. “It will enable us to expand and enhance the university’s study of the social determinants that shape and impact the well-being of children and women, that include the underlying conditions in which people are born, grow, live and work”.

The new 149,000-square-foot building will consolidate the role of the CoEWCH as a focal point for the varsity’s research and policy advocacy efforts that aim to generate new insights into Pakistan’s health challenges. CoEWCH brings together experts from the fields of medicine, public health, liberal arts, nursing and education and provides training opportunities on priority issues related to women and children.

“Pakistan may have missed the Millennium Development Goals and targets for maternal and child health,” Prof Bhutta said, adding “However, the Sustainable Development Goals offer a huge opportunity for value-added work across disciplinary boundaries. CoEWCH will continue to work in a concerted manner to help women and children in Pakistan and other developing countries live healthy and meaningful lives”.

400 students awarded degrees in different disciplines

The new facility will be based over three floors and will house three state-of-the-art laboratories for microbiology, epidemiology and nutrition, a research data management unit, faculty offices and dedicated spaces to build the capacity of young researchers in the field. The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation is a key partner of the CoEWCH. Over the past 10 years, the researchers in the varsity studying maternal and child health have collaborated with national and international partners to generate data of the country’s most pressing health issues. Their work has led to the introduction of life-saving vaccines in Pakistan’s Expanded Programme of Immunisation, validated the effectiveness of 56 low-cost interventions to tackle deadly preventable diseases, and reforms in the Lady Health Worker programme.

Published in The Express Tribune, January 27th, 2019.

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