The Dawood Foundation, the charitable arm of the Dawood Hercules Group, has announced a collaborative project with Aga Khan University (AKU) to build the capacity of frontline healthcare professionals to manage COVID-19 patients across Pakistan.
As cases continue to rise across the country, healthcare institutions across Pakistan are setting up dedicated services to treat coronavirus patients, from wards to intensive care units. To staff these services, healthcare workers from other specialist areas are being mobilized and trained to work with COVID-19 patients.
The Dawood Foundation will be contributing PKR 79.5 million for this two-phased project, in coordination with the Ministry of National Health Services, Regulation and Coordination. In the first phase, 5,000 physicians, nurses and paramedical staff will receive online training in the management of moderate-to-critical COVID-19 patients across the country. In phase two of the project, AKU will provide on-site training to 500 healthcare professionals to build capacity in their respective institutions, in relevant areas of COVID-19 treatment and beyond.
The partnership will also see AKU operate a teleconsultation service for healthcare professionals aiming to enhance the treatment of over 16,000 hospitalized patients.
According to Sabrina Dawood, CEO of The Dawood Foundation, “We are pleased to partner with Aga Khan University for this innovative and sustainable program that will improve lives across Pakistan. By creating a COVID-19 Health Provider Network and enabling tele-consultation services in underserved areas of the country, this project can potentially reform critical care delivery at the national level.”
The Dawood Foundation is involved in this project as part of the PKR 1 billion pledge made by Mr. Hussain Dawood, Chairman of Engro Corporation and Dawood Hercules Corporation. The Pledge is extending COVID-19 relief efforts in the four focus areas of disease prevention, protecting and enabling healthcare practitioners and other key workers, enabling patient care and facilities, and bolstering livelihoods and sustenance of the most deserving in society.
“We consider it our duty to stand up and be counted in the nation’s hour of need,” said AKU’s Medical College Dean, Dr Adil Haider. “This partnership will add momentum to the national response by providing healthcare workers with the advanced knowledge and skills needed to treat hospitalized, ill COVID-19 patients.”
Aga Khan University is already providing free teleconsultations to healthcare workers treating critically ill COVID patients, with the support of the Ministry of Health and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. With this agreement, AKU will now provide free tele-consults to the full range of hospitalized patients: from moderate and severe, to the critically ill. The University has also run a range of courses for frontline healthcare workers, in partnership with the Sindh government, on key aspects of critical care medicine.