KARACHI: Aga Khan University and English Biscuits signed a memorandum of understanding to expand the neonatal intensive care unit NICU at the University Hospital. The MoU was signed today by a representative of English Biscuits and Firoz Rasul, President of the Aga Khan University.
The expansion will enable the University Hospital to treat in a specifically equipped unit more premature and seriously ill babies who need specialised care. Pakistan is one of 10 countries that have the highest number of preterm births in the world at least one in six babies are born too early. The 200millionrupee project includes increasing in the number of beds from 12 to 24 and the addition of special equipment to care for these critically ill babies.
“We are proud to be associated with the Aga Khan University Hospital’s commitment to providing international standard healthcare and to partner with them in investing in bringing this quality care to those who have just entered this world” said the representative of English Biscuits.
“The NICU facilities will offer hope to many more children and their families and we are grateful for the opportunity to be able to support the University Hospital’s dedicated and committed paediatric staff to offer unparalleled newborn intensive care.”
Karachi’s 20million strong population requires at least 600 NICU beds with ventilators for these preterm babies to have a better chance at life. But, excluding the Aga Khan University’s Hospital’s current facility, just 18 working ventilated beds are available at 10 healthcare facilities across the city.
“In 2012, we admitted 557 newborns: half were premature babies and 25 weighed less than one kilogramme. The smallest baby we have treated weighed just 600 grammes and survived,” said Dr Anita Zaidi, Chair, Department of Paediatrics and Child Health. “We treat babies born at the Aga Khan University Hospital and from hospitals around the city. Our NICU is constantly full and we regretfully have to turn babies away. Now we will be able to treat more of these very delicate newborns.”
“We are extremely grateful for this exceptional generosity from English Biscuits.
This is the first gift in our campaign to raise substantial funds from the corporate sector in Pakistan,” said Firoz Rasul. “Donations such as these give us the confidence to continue to expand our services and facilities in Karachi.”