Princess Zahra attended a commencement ceremony for the Aga Khan University’s Kampala campus today — marking the start of an exciting new chapter in its history, as the University establishes a long-term future in Uganda.

Construction is underway on a new 60-acre Aga Khan University (AKU) campus in Uganda’s bustling capital, signifying a pivotal milestone in the University’s 40-year history. 

The new campus, with its world-class facilities and highly-trained staff, will equip tomorrow’s health professionals with the competence and confidence to effectively lead and transform healthcare systems in the developing world. It will feature a seven-storey University Centre, a nine-storey student housing building, and the Aga Khan University Hospital, Kampala.

This opens an unrivalled opportunity for Ugandans to access international-standard medical services when and where they need it, reducing the need for patients to travel abroad for treatment, and thus resulting in economic and social benefits for patients in Uganda and across the region. 

At an elegant ceremony hosted to mark the occasion in Kampala earlier today, Princess Zahra explained how the ambitious project will play a key part in AKDN’s aspiration to expand access to education and healthcare across East Africa:

“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,” said Princess Zahra.

“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.”

The ceremony was attended by a host of dignitaries, including The Honourable Janet Kataaha Museveni, First Lady of Uganda; representatives from the Government of Uganda; and leaders of the Jamat and AKDN. A highlight was the plaque unveiling ceremony, performed by Princess Zahra and The Honourable First Lady, to mark the commencement of construction, followed by the Ugandan national anthem, the East African anthem, and the Nashid al-Imamah. After the event, Princess Zahra had an opportunity to meet and converse with guests and volunteers.

Supported by funding from Germany’s BMZ and KfW, the new campus will include cutting-edge facilities for the University's undergraduate students to make use of in their studies. As with existing AKU campuses in Karachi and Nairobi, Kampala’s campus will also house a world-class teaching hospital, offering advanced forms of specialist treatment and care. 

The Honourable First Lady expressed her wish that the project would have a significant positive impact on the population: “It is my prayer and hope,” she said, “that in the coming years through the Aga Khan Teaching Hospital Kampala, thousands of our people will receive life-saving care, making it a beacon of hope; thousands of our babies will be born in delivery rooms, making it a scene of joy; and that thousands of our young generation will receive quality education, making it a hub for personal growth and transformation.”

For four decades, the renowned and now globally-ranked AKU has focussed on providing quality teaching and research in the fields of medicine, nursing, and education. Its university hospitals are household names within the cities they operate, offering international standards of care to local families and communities.

Like other AKDN projects in Uganda, this initiative illustrates the possibilities for sustained progress and development when public and private organisations partner with one another to improve the quality of life. With its world-class facilities and commitment to excellence, AKDN is poised to make a significant impact in the country and beyond. 

“It is with great pleasure,” Princess Zahra concluded, “that we all come together on 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.”