AKU research and training centre in Matiari

​AKU inaugurates research and training centre in Matiari

April 1, 2016

​The Aga Khan University inaugurated its Mother and Child Health Research and Training Centre in Matiari today to expand its research capacity on mother and child health issues in support of national health policy as well as to strengthen the capacity of local healthcare practitioners.

The 11,000-square-foot facility built at a cost of Rs 68.4 million with support from United Energy Pakistan (UEP) houses a research laboratory with BSL 1 and 2 facilities, training spaces, data centers, and office and administration spaces.

For over one and half decades, AKU’s Division of Women and Child Health has been working with the Department of Health, Government of Sindh, and public and private healthcare providers in Matiari. 

“Together we have implemented a series of critical community-based research projects that have provided scientific evidence to improve health policies, service delivery and infrastructure,” said Professor Zulfiqar A. Bhutta, Founding Director, Centre for Excellence in Women and Child Health, AKU and Co-Director, SickKids Centre for Global Child Health, Toronto. “The Centre will become the hub of the University’s research and training into the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of some of today’s major mother and child healthcare problems in the country.”

Addressing the ceremony, AKU’s President Firoz Rasul said that AKU is working on issues of women, newborns, infants and children in the regions it serves, in Pakistan, Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda and Afghanistan.

“Last year, AKU pledged to support the Global Strategy’s ambitious yet achievable targets – which are fully aligned with the global Sustainable Development Goals – with an investment of over US$ 85 million to improve capacity and to develop programmes that will reach over 15 million women and children in South-Central Asia and East Africa, and potentially save a million lives,” he said.

UEP’s President Tariq Khamisani said, “I feel that this centre shall deliver significant and sustainable benefit to our key stakeholders – the local community. This facility will undoubtedly be one of UEP’s legacy projects in the years to come”.

About 30 kilometres away from Hyderabad, Matiari District has over half a million people scattered over 1,400 villages, with a literacy rate of 54 per cent. The district health infrastructure comprises of three levels of care – basic health units, rural health centres and Taluka or sub-district headquarter hospitals. More than half the deliveries take place at home attended by unskilled birth attendants; the crude birth rate or number of live births in a year is 25 per 1,000.

“If we look back to our start in 1999, there have been many up and downs, but the Health Department and AKU have working hand in hand to meet local needs and international commitments,” said Dr Syed Hassan Murad Shah, DG Health, Sindh.

AKU’s projects in Matiari and Hala have helped provided livelihoods for local people, encouraged women’s empowerment and promoted ownership by the community for long term sustainability.

“For me to see our nascent programme on maternal and newborn health in Matiari, initiated some 16 years ago blossom into a wide ranging research and implementation model programme, is a source of great satisfaction. It also fills me with hope that this district will Inshallah one day become a model for public-private partnerships,” said Professor Bhutta.


Rasool Sarang
Department of Public Affairs
Aga Khan University
+92 21 3486 3920​​


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