August 14, 2005

Governor State Bank of Pakistan Inaugurates Soparivala Building at AKU

Building to house state-of-the-art laboratory services, doubling capacity up to 10 million tests annually

Karachi, Aug 14, 2005. Dr Ishrat Husain, Governor State Bank of Pakistan, was the chief guest at the inauguration of the new Soparivala Building at Aga Khan University (AKU), which was timed to coincide with the Independence Day celebrations. The Soparivala Building, named after the Soparivala estate generously gifted to AKU, will house the new clinical laboratories. The new laboratories will double Aga Khan University Hospital's (AKUH) existing medical test processing capacity to 10 million tests annually.

"In view of the limited health care and diagnostic services in Pakistan, the new clinical laboratories are a much-needed facility," noted Dr Husain. He praised the University for its role-model endeavours towards improving health care and education and commented, 'I wish His Highness the Aga Khan had established AKU fifty years earlier, which would have meant a significantly larger number of high calibre professionals in service of Pakistan today. Dr Husain emphasised the importance of AKU's forthcoming Faculty of Arts and Sciences, which, he said, would notably enhance the quality of human resources in Pakistan and encouraged the Government to give full assistance to the project for its timely completion. Dr Husain also commended the Soparivala family for their philanthropic bequest to the University, which has been described as "the largest single donation AKU has received so far outside of the Ismaili community in Pakistan."

"The University is receiving increasing support from a cross-section of society, as evidenced by more than Rs. 650 million donated over the last three years from a wide range of corporate and individual donors," said AKU President Shamsh Kassim-Lakha, H.I., S.I, in his address. "These donations are an expression of trust in AKU as a national institution, advancing the cause of health and education programmes and services for the benefit of the entire country," President Kassim-Lakha observed.

Admiring the benevolence of Noshir and Mehroo Soparivala, President Kassim-Lakha expressed his gratitude to Mrs Mehroo Soparivala, who upon her death in 1993, gifted a considerable estate to AKU in the form of a building, equities and personal effects, which after liquidation amounted to US $2 million. The total cost of the Building, after the formation of the clinical laboratory that is expected to be completed over the next 18 months, will be Rs. 350 million (US $5.9 million), of which the University will provide Rs. 234 million (US $3.9 million). A separate endowment from the Soparivala family, valued at Rs. 8.4 million, also contributes to AKU's Patient Welfare programme, which provides assistance to under-privileged patients.

"AKUH has established a reputation for high-quality diagnostic services, based upon its adherence to international standards, its use of first-class equipment, and its highly trained personnel," said Nadeem Mustafa Khan, CEO and Director General of AKUH. The state-of-the-art laboratory will play a vital role in augmenting the diagnostic services, as a part of an outreach programme that has seen the Hospital's services being offered in 30 cities across Pakistan through a network of over 70 blood and specimen collection or phlebotomy centres.

The ceremony was attended by prominent citizens, academics, businesspersons, opinion leaders, media personnel as well as AKU faculty and staff, representing a multi-section of communities.