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Karachi, 21st April, 2014: A major project to expand the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit at the Aga Khan University Hospital (AKUH) was launched today. The project, fully sponsored by English Biscuit Manufacturers Private Limited (EBM) – makers of Peek Freans biscuits and the largest biscuit manufacturers in the country – will be completed by the end of this year.
The expanded state-of-the-art NICU will increase the number of beds from 12 to 24 and its proximity to the labour and delivery rooms will allow premature newborns to be transported quickly to intensive care and the specialist neonatal team. It will also be home to two physical and two airborne isolation rooms, counseling rooms, a feeding room and a family area, all designed to better serve women and their babies. Faculty offices and a teaching room will also be housed in the new space.
Premature birth is the world’s leading cause of newborn death and disability. The neonatal mortality rate, (the number of babies dying in the first 28 days after birth) is an alarming 42 per 1,000 live births in Pakistan. According to the UN report Committing to Child Survival: A Promise Renewed, Pakistan is one of five countries that account for 50 percent of global deaths of children under five years of age.
Speaking at a ceremony to launch the project, Ms Saadia Naveed, Deputy Managing Director EBM, said “EBM is acutely conscious of its corporate social responsibility and our partnership with AKU for the expansion of their NICU reflects our commitment to the welfare of society, and especially to the healthcare of our people.”
The Neonatal Intensive Care Unit at the Aga Khan University Hospital was established in 1989 and treats an average of 600 infants every year. Many of these cases receive financial assistance as well. However, the 12-bed facility was usually filled to capacity, and the expansion was critically needed.
Mr Firoz Rasul, President AKU, also expressed his gratitude for EBM’s support: “EBM is well-known in the corporate sector in Pakistan for its very supportive CSR programmes. Funding the NICU at AKU is one such example; the lives of many premature babies will be saved as a result of this initiative.” Chartered in 1983, the Aga Khan University is a private, autonomous university that promotes human welfare through research, teaching and community service initiatives. It is one of nine agencies in the Aga Khan Development Network, a group of private development agencies with diverse mandates including health and education.
English Biscuit Manufacturers (Private) Limited was established in 1967 as the first manufacturer of wholesome, hygienic packaged biscuits in Pakistan. For over 45 years, EBM has been a symbol of trust and confidence for consumers, making it the leading biscuit manufacturer of Pakistan. EBM has an extremely diverse corporate social responsibility (CSR) portfolio, driven by a commitment to improving lives. With one of the largest CSR budgets amongst national and multi-national companies, EBM has made significant contributions in areas as diverse as health, education, community welfare, and sports-related causes.