The Honourable Janet Museveni, First Lady of Uganda and Minister of Education and Sports;
Honourable Members of Government;
Your Excellencies, Members of the Diplomatic Corps;
Chairman Zakir Mahmood and Members of the Board of Trustees of the Aga Khan University;
Leaders of the Aga Khan Development Network;
Generous donors; Distinguished guests; Ladies and Gentlemen;
Thank you for joining us to celebrate this important milestone in the development of the Aga Khan University and the Aga Khan Development Network in East Africa.
It is a great privilege to have with us on this occasion the First Lady of Uganda. And I would like to express on behalf of our Chancellor, His Highness the Aga Khan, his great thanks and gratitude to yourself, to President Museveni, without whom this project would not have seen the light of day. Without the support of President Museveni and the Government of Uganda and the generous donation of this beautiful site, this project would not be where it is and where we hope it will be in the coming years – thank you on behalf of our Chancellor, of our board and of the Aga Khan University.
The relationship between the Aga Khan Development Network and the Government of Uganda dates back decades. It is a partnership that we value deeply, and that has led to the establishment of a wide range of institutions and projects in health care, in education and also economic development.
I would of course also like to thank the Federal Republic of Germany’s BMZ and KfW Development Bank for their support, as well as the East African Community for doing much to facilitate the progress we are celebrating today.
This project connects the Government of Uganda, the Government of Germany, the East African Community and the Aga Khan University, and demonstrates how much can be achieved when public and private institutions come together to pursue shared goals.
When His Highness the Aga Khan first announced this project, he spoke of his determination to expand access to international-quality health care and education. Many of our generous donors who share that determination are with us here this afternoon, and we are profoundly grateful for their generosity.
In East Africa, as elsewhere around the world, the Aga Khan Development Network’s aim is to improve people’s quality of life by developing human capacity, building resilient communities, generating economic growth and honouring cultural heritage.
In the field of health, our goal is to build a network of clinics and hospitals that bring primary care as close as possible to people’s homes, while linking them seamlessly to advanced care. We aim for these facilities – in collaboration with partner governments and educational institutions – to be staffed by highly-trained clinicians, equipped with the latest technologies, and prepared to address the region’s changing burden of disease. This integrated health network is designed to educate leaders who can enhance the quality of care, not just in AKDN institutions, but non-AKDN institutions in all the countries where we work.
This project will bring many new, innovative elements to the AKU portfolio in East Africa. Not only will it bring a new four-year bachelor’s degree in nursing and medicine, it will train much-needed medical specialists through its residency programmes in surgery, internal medicine and other fields. Its faculty will pursue research on questions of wide importance to the region. Offering care in two dozen specialties, the Hospital will, insha’Allah, provide families with the peace of mind that comes from knowing that specialist care is available here, close to home.
Following in the footsteps of the other Aga Khan hospitals, AKU Hospital Kampala will seek to achieve the highest levels of international-quality accreditation. This site will constitute a vital node of the wider Aga Khan University health and Aga Khan Health Services network of institutions in East Africa and around the globe, and it is with great pleasure that we all come together in this absolutely wonderful site to launch this project, which, with your help and with your support, we know will make a huge difference for Uganda, for the region, and for medical care around the world.