The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has commended Aga Khan University (AKU) for its leadership in transforming public health and improving lives of women and girls globally.
Speaking as the chief guest as the university graduated 667 students from three continents on Saturday, Melinda French Gates, a co-chair and trustee of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, described the university not only as a global resource, but also as a transformative force in public and women’s health, advancing economic development and creating opportunities for women and girls.
“The AKU is not only a global resource – it is a transformative force for public health and women’s health. We’re proud of our partnership with AKU over the years,” she said.
“As graduates of AKU, you join a remarkable group of women and men who are changing lives for the better all over the world. And let me tell you: the world desperately needs your energy and leadership,” she told the graduates.
She explained that the Gates Foundation, the Aga Khan Development Network, and the university, are working together in Afghanistan, Pakistan, India and East Africa to improve health, advance economic development and create opportunities for women and girls.
The Foundation has funded research and other projects close to $90m (about Shs319.9b) in the areas of maternal and child health, infectious diseases, malnutrition and Covid-19.
The University founder and Chancellor, His Highness the Aga Khan, Firoz Rasul, the university president, also addressed the graduands in the first-ever global convocation ceremony live-streamed to a worldwide audience and students from campuses in Pakistan, Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, and the United Kingdom.
The Aga Khan thanked Ms French Gates and the Gates Foundation for their “crucial and catalytic role” to the university, especially in battling the Covid-19 pandemic, improving health globally and advancing gender equality.
He revealed that the university researchers tracked the new mutations of Covid-19, assessed the safety and effectiveness of vaccines, evaluated the therapies and he lauded the staff and students for choosing the path of service to humanity.
“The university has made a critical difference, advising national governments, training public-sector medical staff, working with teachers and schools, raising awareness through media and journalism, and doing everything possible to treat patients, to save lives,” the Aga Khan said. President Firoz Rasul told the graduates that the university has prepared them to make a profound difference in people’s lives.
Awards of Excellence
The university also presented Awards of Excellence to outstanding students and staff. Some of them include;
1. Rahab Benjamin for achieving the highest marks in the Post-Registered Nurse Bachelor of Science in Nursing Programme.
2. In Kenya, Dorcas Nuna Kyove and Carolyne Awuor Oduor, won the Award of Excellence in Kenya for the Post-Registered Nurse Bachelor of Science in Nursing and the Post-RM Bachelor of Science in Midwifery programmes.
3. In Uganda, Atieno Frankline received the Award of Excellence in the Diploma in General Nursing programme, Ssenkubuge Samuel and Scoviah Masudio received the Award of Excellence for the Post-Registered Nurse Bachelor of Science in Nursing and Post-RM Bachelor of Science in Midwifery programmes.