Narinder Kapur
University College London, n.kapur@ucl.ac.uk


The purpose of the UCL Karen Woo Afghan Award scheme is to support healthcare in
Afghanistan and also to cherish and promote the memory of Dr Karen Woo, so that her example
can be a role model for other healthcare professionals.


In August 2010, after carrying out medical aid work in Nuristan in north-east Afghanistan, Dr
Karen Woo and her colleagues were brutally murdered by terrorists. Her mother then set up the Karen Woo Foundation in Karen’s memory, and since around 2011, I have financially supported
that Foundation. For practical reasons, that Foundation charity has recently been wound up,
though some of its work is being carried out by another Afghan-based charity. Karen showed
great courage and compassion in risking her life for the wellbeing of Afghan citizens. Her work
and her example should not be forgotten. The scheme would aim to continue with Karen’s aim of
doing all she could to make healthcare better for the citizens of Afghanistan. If the scheme is
widely publicised, then it should also act as a role model for other healthcare professionals to
show the courage and compassion that Karen showed.


The scheme would offer an annual award, worth £1000. This could support a healthcare
professional in Afghanistan to spend time in the UCL Hospitals group or any other UK centre of
clinical excellence and acquire knowledge, skills and experience that he/she can then apply when
they return to Afghanistan. It could support a healthcare professional in the UK to spend time in
Afghanistan and provide teaching and training, as well as any clinical service, which would
advance healthcare there. It could also support any clinical service or research initiative which
could improve healthcare in Afghanistan in the short-term or in the long-term. Professor Kapur will
provide £10,000 funding to cover the cost of the scheme for 10 years. It is hoped that UCLH

Charity and/or the Association of Afghan Healthcare Professionals would fund the scheme after
that period. Karen Woo’s family have given their full support to the scheme.


In the case of a fellowship, £1000 would cover travel and related costs. If there are additional
accommodation, visa or other costs, then the Association of Afghan Healthcare Professionals
and/or UCLH Charity could help to meet those additional costs. While I am still alive, I would
always try to meet any such additional costs, and when possible to provide accommodation in my
home in London. In the case of a clinical service / research award, this would cover necessary
costs for the service or project in question.


The scheme would be jointly administered by UCLH Charity and the Association of Afghan
Healthcare Professionals. UK applications for an award would be considered by such a panel. We
would also seek advice from a corresponding panel based in Afghanistan composed of Afghan
healthcare professionals and members of the Taliban health ministry. In the case of a fellowship,
it is anticipated that the individual would spend 2-4 weeks in either country.
For either form of the scheme, a report would be written by the awardee after completion of the
fellowship or clinical service/research initiative.
For those Afghan fellows who visited the UK, they would be required to give a signed undertaking
that they would return to Afghanistan after their time in the UK. They would also agree to carry out
a Dissemination programme whereby they ensured that other healthcare professionals in
Afghanistan benefited from their stay in the UK. A formal report on such a programme would be
submitted one month and then six months after the individual’s return to Afghanistan. If there are
problems in getting a visa to come to the UK, we may seek the support of UK government
departments such as the Home Office, the Department of Health and the Department of
International Development. We may also seek support of embassies, such as the Pakistan
embassy, which still has a presence in Kabul.


Details of Award Scheme & Guidance for Applications

1. Award

Title: The UCL Karen Woo Award
The award will be known as the Karen Woo Award (KWA). The aim of the award is to
support healthcare in Afghanistan.

2. Procedures

2. 1. Proposal

2.1.1. Any healthcare professional from the UK can apply for the Karen Woo Award
(KWA). The application is to be submitted to the Chair of the Award committee. This
committee currently (2022) consists of two representatives from the Association of Afghan
Healthcare Professionals (AAHPUK) [Dr Shafi Wardak, Dr Pamir Ihsan], one from UCL
Hospitals group [Dr Anand Trip], and a healthcare professional from Afghanistan.
Narinder Kapur (originator and initial funder of the KWA) and Lynn Woo (mother of the
late Dr Karen Woo) also sit on the award committee.

2.1.2. Applications will be considered by the KWA committee, who will decide the
recipient of the award each year. Considerations for an award may include seeing
external, expert advice on the applications. If there are no applications which merit any of
the awards for a particular year, then the KWA committee reserves the right not to
make an award. In such a case, the award will be carried over to the next year, when an
additional award will be made.

2.1.3 The award will have a value of £1000. The KWA committee will inform the AAHPUK
and UCLH Charity of the names of the successful candidates.

2.1.4. Deadlines for proposals will be 1st June each year

2.2. Award Selection

2.2.1. The award decision will be made by the 1
st September following the closing date
for applications.
2.3.4 Unsuccessful applicants in one year will be allowed, if they so wish, to be
considered for an award in the following year. They will be given the opportunity to update
their application.

2.3. Award announcement and presentation
2.3.1. The Chair of the KWA committee will write to the successful applicant informing
him/her of the award. The AAHPUK and UCLH Charity will be informed of the decision
and of the awardees’ acceptance of the award.

2.3.2. Awards will be announced in the publications and on the websites of both
2.3.3. An award ceremony will take place at an annual meeting of AAHPUK, where the
awardee will be invited to give a short talk (15mins) on the work which they have carried


Guidelines for Applicants

1. Applicants
The applicant will be a registered healthcare professional working in a healthcare setting
in the UK. He/she should include the applicant‘s full curriculum vitae, including details of
current post and contact details – email and mobile number.

2. Content of Application
Applicants should provide, in not more than four A4 pages (Arial font, point size 10, singlespacing) –
a. The healthcare need(s) in question in Afghanistan, background information, and
how the £1000 will be spent. Funds could be used in a variety of ways – e.g. to
purchase specific healthcare equipment, help with a clinical research project, fund
a healthcare professional to visit Afghanistan to carry out clinics and/or to train
professionals there, fund a healthcare professional from Afghanistan to visit the
UK and learn specific skills which would be of value in Afghanistan.
b. The manager or senior colleague of the applicant should write a covering letter to
verify the content of the application and to support the application. Applications
coming from an NHS Trust should also have a supportive letter from the clinical
director of their department. Applications from a hospital or medical faculty in
Afghanistan should also have a supportive letter from the head of the institution.

3. Submission
Respective files should be sent in Word or PDF format, and each file clearly labelled
(e.g. KWA Proposal, Applicant CV, etc.).
Please send all files to the chair of the KWA Committee, currently (2022) – Professor
Narinder Kapur, n.kapur@ucl.ac.uk with a copy to Pamir Ihsan, pamir_z@yahoo.com.
Professor Kapur will inform the successful and unsuccessful applicants of the
committee’s decision. Details of the scheme are on the websites of AAHPUK and UCLH



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