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Thursday May 30, 2024

AKU to build new campus in Kampala

By M. Waqar Bhatti
May 01, 2023

Pakistan’s first private university to expand its operations in Africa, the Aga Khan University (AKU) celebrated the start of construction of its new campus in Kampala at a ceremony attended by the First Lady of Uganda, Her Excellency Janet Museveni, and Princess Zahra Aga Khan.

The 60-acre campus located in the Nakawa area on New Port Bell Road and Jinja Road will feature in its first phase a seven-storey University Centre, a nine-storey student housing building and the Aga Khan University Hospital, Kampala. The hospital will offer care in nearly two dozen specialties, ranging from family medicine to oncology.

The project represents one of the AKU’s largest investments in East Africa to date. This will enable a significant expansion of the university’s existing School of Nursing and Midwifery in Kampala and will also allow the University to begin training medical specialists in fields such as internal medicine and surgery. Construction of the University Centre and student housing is currently underway. Construction of the hospital will start early next year. A four-storey ambulatory care building will offer outpatient care in a wide range of specialties in advance of the hospital’s completion.

“We know that through this facility, a new crop of exceptionally skilled and equipped nurses and midwives will be available to support the health sector all over Uganda in years to come,” said Janet Museveni, minister of education and sports. “We look forward to witnessing this project succeed, as we experience international quality health care and a new generation of phenomenal leaders in this sector!”

“The Aga Khan Development Network’s goal in East Africa is to build a network of clinics and hospitals that brings primary care as close to people’s homes as possible, while also linking them seamlessly to advanced care,” Princess Zahra Aga Khan said. “We aim for these facilities to be staffed by highly trained clinicians, equipped with the latest technologies, and prepared to address the region’s changing burden of disease.”

The land for the campus and hospital was generously provided by the Government of Uganda, and speakers expressed their gratitude to President Yoweri Museveni for his vision and his strong support of the project. Funding for construction was provided by His Highness the Aga Khan, generous donors and the Government of Germany’s BMZ and KfW. Valuable support was also provided by the East African Community.

Designed by the award-winning architecture firm Legorreta, AKU’s Kampala campus and hospital will form an important part of the Aga Khan Development Network’s extensive health care system in East Africa. The AKU and the Aga Khan Health Services operate five hospitals and almost 100 clinics that care for more than 1.5 million patients annually in Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda.

“We look forward to seeing the University train generations of future leaders in nursing, medicine, and other disciplines on this campus and to seeing the hospital provide international-quality health care in a wide range of fields,” said Ms. Cornelia Penzel, KfW Country Director for Uganda. “We are positive that AKU will continue to grow in scope, in excellence, and in impact.”

The AKU has been active in Uganda for 23 years. In Kampala, it has graduated 1,300 nurses and midwives who are working in government and private-sector institutions in urban and rural communities across the country. Several hundred Ugandan teachers and journalists have graduated from or are enrolled at AKU and more than 2,000 have completed short courses. The University also operates three medical centres in Kampala. In total, AKU has graduated more than 4,500 nurses, doctors, teachers and journalists across East Africa.

“In the years and decades to come, countless lives will be saved and enriched on this site,” said AKU President and Vice Chancellor Sulaiman Shahabuddin. “We can’t wait to open our doors and show you the new face of AKU in Uganda.”