HAZAR IMAM, in a foundation ceremony on October 11 1982 , launched a 470,000 extension at the Aga Khan Medical Centre in Kisumu. The project ,which is one of the special projects in Kenya to be inaugurated during the 25th anniversary of Hazar Imam's accession to the Imamat of the Shia Imami Ismaili Muslims, will be financed by the Aga Khan Foundation and by donations raised from the Ismaili community and others. The expansion of the Medical Centre at Kisumu, which was opened in 1952, will strengthen the institution's ability to deliver high quality medical care. The plan includes the addition of a new private ward, a pediatrics ward, an expanded and redesigned maternity ward, new radiology and pathology facilities, a new operating theater complex and an upgrading of staff accommodation. The Aga Khan Foundation is a private, noncommunal institution based in Geneva, which has a branch in Kenya as well as branches and affiliates in Pakistan, India, Bangladesh, the United Kingdom, the United States and Canada. In the field of health, the foundation has given considerable support to medical care services through hospitals and health centres, with special emphasis on health promotion and disease prevention services. The Aga Khan Health Services, which manages the Medical Centre at Kisumu, is part of a network of health programmes and institutions in Kenya, Tanzania, India, Syria and Pakistan, and has been involved in the development of the non-profit voluntary health sector for over sixty years. In Kenya, there are three major health institutions supported by the Aga Khan Health Services- the Aga Khan Hospitals in Nairobi and Mombasa and the Kisumu Medical Centre, as well as numerous school, health and health education programmes. Speaking at the foundation ceremony, Hazar Imam said that the Medical Centre, like all Aga Khan welfare activities had, for a long time, been open to all, and that in 1981 only 5 per cent of its in -patients were from the Ismaili Community. "I cannot overstress the importance of this open-door philosophy, which is central to our Aga Khan welfare activities around the world, and I must also emphasize that the services we provide here are complimentary to those provided by Government and are being carefully structured to meet known needs, and to improve what we already have, with the approval of Government." He emphasized the responsibilities of hospitals to the communities which they serve. "They must reach out beyond their walls. as was recommended by the Conference on the Role of Hospitals in Primary Health Care, sponsored by the Aga Khan Foundation and the World Health Organisation in Karachi last November. The conference declared that hospitals should be associated with a well defined catchment area and should support and encourage primary health care programmes in that area." Hazar Imam went on to mention an important step which was taken recently towards the development of this concept in Kenya, In July, the Aga Khan Health Services. Kisumu, and the Aga Khan Foundation, together with Government officials from Kisumu, Nyanza Province, the Lake Basin Development Authority, and the Ministry of Health, held a special seminar in Kisumu.

"Following the seminar's recommendations, personal from the Aga Khan Health Services and the Provincial Medical Officer's Office are preparing plan based on joint participation between the Aga Khan Medical Centre and Government. Supported by Government and various private resources, including the Aga Khan Foundation." said Hazar Imam. "This would be one of the first attempts in Kenya at an outreach programme from a hospital or large medical center. It would be both a necessary and an exciting development with significance extending far beyond the borders of Kisumu District. The W.H.O. and many international agencies are intensely interested in several aspects of the project." In his closing remarks, Hazar Imam paid tribute to the professionalism and good management of the Aga Khan Health Services network. "the heart and lifeblood of our network is the voluntary worker: the boards, the committees, the volunteers young and old who contribute their time and effort. In Kisumu we have a living example of how this extraordinary resource, the most precious of all, the enthusiasm and love donated by human beings can bring inspiring progress". he said.

Source Africa Ismaili 821011

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