The distinction of being the first hospital in East Africa to treat patients of all races and communities goes to the H.H. the Aga Khan Platinum Jubilee Hospital in Nairobi.
The idea for such a hospital offering comprehensive medical and surgical treatment in uptodate surroundings was formed in 1952 when His Royal Highness the then Aga Khan's 70 years of Imamat were celebrated by his being weighed symbolically against platinum.
Mr. A.D. Connell was entrusted with the design of the hospital complex and as it took shape in 1956 at a cost of Pounds 500,000 it was clear that here was a major health asset not only for Nairobi but for Kenya.
The sweeping approaches and graceful lines formed a beautiful yet functional building with a very airy and bright atmosphere. The Royal Institute of British Architects paid a tribute to this design by awarding it bronze plaque for the architectural design of the hospital in 1958.
At the opening of the hospital on 10 September, 1958, His Highness the Aga Khan said, "This hospital must serve much more than the Ismaili community in Kenya or even East Africa. It is intended for all communities and for all races. This building must become a living monument to the ideal of racial partnership."
These words have indeed come true as the staff and the patients at this hospital today reflect all the communities that make up the Kenya nation. Furthermore, their cooperation and team spirit in providing the best of medical care is in tune with the Kenyan motto of Harambee - Pulling together.
In the year of Kenya's uhuru - freedom, the hospital also marked a milestone of opening a nurses training school. This impressive school was inaugurated by the father of the Kenyan nation, Mzee Jomo Kenyatta. The hospital was soon approved by the medical authorities for medical internships and later for post graduate special courses. It will eventually become a full fledged medical training hospital in Kenya.
Two years later, a new children's ward was opened by Kenya's first lady, Mama Ngina Kenyatta and an Out Patients and Casualty Clinic to provide service round the clock and round the year was opened at the same occasion by President Kenyatta.
The hospital has expanded its scope of health facilities greatly. From only two resident doctors in 1958 at the time of opening, it has 30 resident doctors in 1976 with another 30 of the most distinguished physicians and surgeons in Kenya as consultants. The original 112 beds have been increased to the fully capacity of 200 beds with a very fast turnover of patients with 10,000 admissions a year. The hospital admits and discharges up to 30 or 40 patients daily. This is a unique achievement as it provides health care to many more people.
There are about 4,000 operations performed annually in the hospital's well equipped operating theatre. Moreover, every month 1,200 out patients are treated by the consultancy clinic 3,500 in the casualty clinic, 400 ladies given ante-natal care and 500 babies are born in the maternity clinic.
In addition to the 40 qualified nurses, the hospital has 120 trainee nurses. Its kitchens provide 1,000 meals a day with as much as 32 variations of a single meal to cater for different palates.
The various branches of medicine such as anaesthetics, cardiology; ear, nose and throat; paediatrics, obstetrics, dermatology, gynaecology, psychiatry, plastic surgery, genito-urinary surgery, opthalmology, physiotherapy, neurosurgery and general surgery are all catered for by the hospital with other facilities such as a most modern X-Ray Department and a well stocked pharmacy.
When Her Highness the Begum Salimah visited the hospital in early 1976, it was being used to its full capacity. Proposals have been made for funds to build extensions.
His Highness has also announced plans to build another Aga Khan Medical College and Hospital in Karachi at a cost of 35 million dollars which will be the best in Asia when completed.
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