Ms. Shela Hirani, Assistant Professor at Aga Khan University School of Nursing and Midwifery (AKU-SONaM) and the recipient of “Trudi Szallasi Memorial Scholarship Award 2012”, has successfully passed her International Board Certified Lactation Consultant Examination (IBLCE) 2013 and became an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC). With her IBCLC credentials she continues to promote, protect and support breastfeeding among Pakistani mothers through her clinical practice, teaching, and collaborative researches.
In Pakistan, AKU-SONAM has pioneered a transition in the nursing education programmes by upgrading nursing education from a diploma to a graduate programme. The midwifery programme has been integrated from Aga Khan Health Services, Pakistan to upgrade the midwifery education. Additionally, AKU-SONAM has been collaborating at the national, regional, and international levels to strengthen the nursing profession. Some key achievements in this area include collaboration with the McMaster University, the creation of the Sigma Theta Tau Rho Delta Chapter, and working with the Pakistan Nursing Council to enhance nursing teaching/learning standards in Pakistan.
Over the past years, the reach of the School has expanded to include East Africa (Kenya, Uganda, and Tanzania), Syria, Egypt, and Afghanistan. In East Africa, AKU-SON has established permanent programmes and issues its own degrees. In Nairobi, a new College of Nursing and Midwifery has been established as part of a new AKU Faculty of Health Sciences for East Africa. In Afghanistan, Syria, and in Egypt AKU-SONAM is collaborating in government nursing initiatives, with the primary objective of capacity building to improve the quality and relevance of nursing higher education in these countries.