- State House Chief of Staff Nzioka Waita says only experts in areas such as oncology, nephrology and dermatology will come to Kenya.
The deal also includes sending 50 Kenyan doctors to Cuba for specialised training.
The Kenya Medical Association and Kenya Medical Practitioners, Pharmacists and Dentists’ Union have, however, opposed the move.
The government will only hire specialist doctors from Cuba and they will be deployed to the rural areas, State House has said.
Responding to objections by Kenyan doctors to the hiring of medics from Cuba, the State House Chief of Staff and Head of the President’s Delivery Unit Nzioka Waita, said only experts in areas such as oncology (cancer), nephrology (kidney) and dermatology (skin) would be brought to Kenya.
He defended the Kenya-Cuba deal, saying deploying medical experts to the rural areas would reduce the number of patients relying on Kenyatta National Hospital and Moi Teaching and Referral Hospital, Eldoret.
The deal also includes sending 50 Kenyan doctors to Cuba for specialised training. “Specialists in these areas are few, yet their services are in high demand. Improving access for our citizens in rural areas to medical specialists can only ease the congestion we are seeing at the few referral hospitals. This is a concrete step in decongesting the referral hospitals,” Mr Waita said in a statement.
The first batch of the Cuban doctors is expected to arrive in July.
The Kenya Medical Association (KMA) and Kenya Medical Practitioners, Pharmacists and Dentists’ Union (KMPPDU), have, however, opposed the move.
KMPPDU secretary-general Ouma Oluga has asked the Health ministry to employ the more than 1,200 local doctors before flying in the Cubans. On his part, KMA secretary-general Lukoye Atwoli said importing 100 Cuban doctors would deny local experts jobs. “Advertise locally and if nobody applies go global to fill the gaps. But don’t take 100 doctors from Cuba and deny Kenyans a chance,” said Prof Atwoli during the 46th Annual Scientific Conference in Mombasa.