KARACHI: Pakistan’s first-ever doctorate in nursing has been awarded by the Aga Khan University’s School of Nursing and Midwifery to Khairulnissa Ajani.

As part of her PhD, Ms Ajani conducted research into hypertension or high blood pressure – a condition that affects one in every three adults in Pakistan.

Ms Ajani’s research found low levels of physical activity and poor adherence to a hypertension-friendly diet among people with high blood pressure. Interestingly, women, in particular, tended to focus more on their family’s well-being while neglecting their own. Her study also emphasises the importance of family support in encouraging a patient to take care of his or her health.

“Developing family support is the key to enhancing the health of patients,” Ms Ajani said. “Healthcare providers have to develop practices that raise awareness about hypertension in both the patient and their families.”

The study also found that nurses can play a key role in developing a positive relationship with patients which can help promote a deeper understanding of the need for self-care. It also highlighted the need for professionals to move away from traditional health education strategies designed for the public towards individual more personalised healthcare regimes.

Ms Ajani currently serves as assistant dean of teaching, learning and undergraduate programmes at the AKU school.

A total of eight faculty members at the school hold PhDs from top nursing schools in the US and Canada.

The AKU school is the first nursing institution in Pakistan to have launched bachelor’s, master’s and PhD qualifications in nursing.

Published in Dawn, May 2nd, 2021

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