The News
Saturday October 04, 2003
-- Sha'aban 07, 1424 A.H.
ISSN 1563-9479
By our correspondent

UK-based trust awards $0.5m grant to AKU

KARACHI: The UK-based Welcome Trust Foundation has awarded $500,000 research grant to Aga Khan University (AKU) for a study on high blood pressure, designed by Dr Tazeen Jafar, an assistant professor, and her colleagues at university’s Department of Medicine.

The Trust is widely known for its high profile in the best academic and research circles throughout the world, and for funding only scientifically robust and internationally competitive research projects. "It is indeed a great source of pride for the AKU to be recognised as a genuine research university on the international stage," said Dr Jafar.

A team of 40 health professionals, who will first receive three months of intensive training in providing health education and research methodologies, will conduct this ambitious study. "This will be followed by population based home health education, and training of general practitioners in cost-effective treatment of hypertension."

According to Dr Jafar, long-term objectives of the study are to lead the development of a sustainable and implementable nation-wide blood pressure control programme. "In Pakistan, one in three middle aged individuals suffer from hypertension, which is the most common risk factor for cardiovascular and kidney diseases."

Dr Tazeen Jafar, who also direct clinical epidemiology unit at the AKU, said the majority of hypertensive patients either destined to go under-diagnosed or under-treated in Pakistan. "This study would evaluate affordable strategies for lowering blood pressure in our population."

Chairman of Medicine Department Dr Wasim Jafri commended the AKU academicians for assigning top priority to research that would directly benefit the local population. "It will help address the diseases that pose a heavy burden on our population."

"We are proud to draw funding from an agency renowned for investing in the highest quality research," acting chairman of the Department of Community Health Sciences, Dr Masood Kadir, commented.

Dean Medical College AKU Dr Muhammad Khurshid dubbed the latest achievement "only natural for the AKU to take the lead in novel studies that address major health problems of our population". "We hope that other institutions in Pakistan would also take measures to promote much needed research culture for combating the disease."