Mawlana Hazar Imam inaugurated the Aga Khan School of Nursing on February 16, 1981 in Karachi, Pakistan. Although the profession of nursing had been held in high esteem, this was not the case for women in Pakistan; Mawlana Hazar Imam addressed this issue at the inauguration ceremony:
“The School of Nursing’s primary mission is to raise the standards and standing of the profession itself, so that it is accorded the recognition and prestige earned and deserved by the women whose working lives are dedicated to the demanding and honourable task of caring for the sick. We are confident that the nurses in our hospital will be rewarded with respect, appreciation and remuneration that their integrity and loyal commitment justify. The key note to the the school’s philosophy is excellence.”
Mawlana Hazar Imam also stressed the importance of a progressive society dependant on healthy, productive individuals:
“Apart from the fundamental aim of alleviating suffering, a healthy population is vital for a country’s development to proceed with one of its most valuable resources – the human element – playing its role to the full. More than ever before, world agencies for development are reaching consensus that it is the investment in men and women, the ability to make every individual in society productive, which enables a country most rapidly to make economic progress.”
Extracts from Mawlana Hazar Imam’s speech published in Hikmat, July 1982.
About the School of Nursing
The Aga Khan University School of Nursing (AKU-SON) was established in 1980, three years prior to the establishment of the Aga Khan University that received its Charter in 1983. AKU-SON became the first operational academic unit of the Aga Khan University and the first school of nursing in the country to be affiliated with a university.
The School of Nursing has also accomplished many other firsts in Pakistan. It was the first to start a two-year Post RN Bachelor of Science in Nursing (Post RN BScN) programme for diploma qualified nurses in 1988; the first to start a four-year Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BScN) in 1997; and the first to begin a Master of Science in Nursing (MScN) programme in 2001. It is now the School of Nursing and Midwifery.
Advanced Nursing Studies Programme
In response to requests from senior nursing leadership as well as health officials from public and private institutions in East Africa, AKU-SON established an Advanced Nursing Studies programme in the region.
This programme focuses on the development of nursing professionals. It seeks to increase the expertise of nurses in health care delivery at all levels, enhance clinical skills, provide post-basic training in management and teaching, and improve the quality of care throughout the region.
The international activities of the AKU-SON, begun in 2001, now encompass East Africa, Syria, UK, and Afghanistan.
A historic milestone was marked in September 2015 – the graduation of the first class of nurses from a programme run in Faizabad and managed by the Badakhshan Provincial Public Health Directorate and Badakhshan Institute of Health Sciences, with technical support and advice from the Aga Khan University’s Programmes in Afghanistan. AKDN
The Aga Khan University, History and Vision
Aga Khan Health Services
Compiled by Nimira Dewji