Aga Khan University (AKU) has announced the launch of two new undergraduate degree programs, Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery (MBChB) and Bachelor of Science in Nursing – Direct Entry. The Commission for University Education (CUE) approved the programs, and they are expected to commence in September 2023.
The launch of these two undergraduate programs is a significant development for the education sector and healthcare industry. According to statistics from the Ministry of Health, Kenya has a ratio of 13.8 healthcare professionals per 10,000 people, which falls short of the World Health Organization’s recommendation of 44.5 doctors, nurses, and midwives per 10,000 people. This gap hinders effective delivery of essential healthcare services and achievement of Universal Healthcare Coverage, which the University hopes to bridge.
AKU’s Medical College in East Africa will offer the Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery (MBChB), a six-year degree program designed to prepare medical doctors who are well-grounded with knowledge, competencies, and skills in humanities, social sciences, and medical sciences. The MBChB degree program is based on the principles of adult learning and incorporates concepts of best evidence-based learning in medical education.
AKU’s School of Nursing and Midwifery in East Africa will offer the Bachelor of Science in Nursing – Direct Entry, a four-year direct-entry program which aims to equip nursing students with the skills and competencies needed to function in areas such as patient-centered care, evidence-based practice, quality improvement, and the use of informatics and technology to enhance the quality of care.
These two programs aim to transform the higher education landscape in the region and will be offered simultaneously in a unique setting that brings student doctors and nurses together to gain interprofessional education. AKU is ranked among the top 2% of universities in the world, and the students applying to these programs will learn from the best faculty, with access to state-of-the-art facilities and acquire a globally recognized degree at the end of their studies.
The Vice-Chancellor of AKU, Dr. Sulaiman Shahabuddin, said, “Healthcare is one of the most important and rapidly evolving fields in the world today. The demand for highly skilled and compassionate healthcare professionals has never been greater, and our undergraduate programs have been designed to meet that demand.”
Currently, the Medical College, East Africa offers nine residency programs through its Postgraduate Medical Education, and nine fellowship programs in Nairobi, and over 60% of its graduates are currently working in public and private sector hospitals in the countries they serve.
The School of Nursing and Midwifery, East Africa, prides itself on transforming its students from learners into leaders and has so far graduated more than 3,000 nurses and midwives across the region.
The launch of these two programs is a significant milestone in AKU’s programmatic growth as it seeks to create leaders in professions and communities from where its students are drawn. The healthcare sector plays a crucial role in promoting the overall well-being of the population, and investing in education and training that prepares healthcare professionals who are capable of providing quality care is imperative. AKU and other stakeholders will nurture the next generation of leaders who will help collectively improve healthcare outcomes and access to care for communities in need – which is the goal in achieving Universal Health Coverage.