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November 15, 2018

Kenya to import 100 doctors from Cuba, each county gets two

Doctors sit on the road as they continued with a country wide strike last year./MONICAH MWANGI
Doctors sit on the road as they continued with a country wide strike last year./MONICAH MWANGI

Kenya has agreed to accelerate a health agreement it signed with Cuba last year and bring in 100 doctors from the Caribbean nation to fill gaps in county hospitals.

President Uhuru Kenyatta is pulling all the levers to ensure the success of the health pillar of his Big Four agenda. Health Chief Administrative Secretary Rashid Aman said each county will get at least two medical specialists and 50 Kenyan doctors will be sent to Cuba for specialised training.

Kenya will also work with Cuba on collaborative research projects to develop training for primary healthcare workers and build capacity to undertake genetic engineering and biotech work. Kenya has only 5,000 doctors working in the public sector.

Last year, the Kenya Medical Practitioners and Dentists Board blocked a plan by the government to bring in 500 doctors from neighbouring Tanzania. “Timelines are as soon as possible,” Aman said. He was part of the delegation that accompanied Uhuru to Cuba, which is globally known for its leadership in primary healthcare.

Cuban doctors will need to be cleared by the KMPDB.

Governors Anyang Nyong’o of Kisumu and Mohamed Ali of Marsabit, who were also part the delegation and back the deal, said they expect no problems.

Nyong’o had been to Cuba twice before when he served as minister in the Grand Coalition government. He had been been party to health cooperation agreements that were never implemented. The Cuban medics will come to Kenya within the next few weeks and roll out a range of medical interventions that will radically change how the country manages a large number of life-threatening diseases. Uhuru ordered Aman to remain in Cuba until he delivers an agreement with extensive details on cooperation with Cuba.

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