Doctors in Cuba to get additional Sh144,000

Government gives in to pressure after medic's death in Havana

In Summary

• An increase from Sh50,800 stipend doctors have been receiving since January

• Each trainee to get Sh400,000 every month, inclusive of Kenyan salary

Health PS Susan Mochache
BETTER TERMS: Health PS Susan Mochache
Image: FILE

Kenyan doctors studying in Cuba will now be paid Sh144,000 every month on top of their monthly salary. 

This is an increase from the Sh50,800 stipend that the doctors have been receiving every month since January.

"Further, the doctors are paid a monthly basic salary of 80 per cent and all other monthly allowances. The doctors have been paid the (one-off) book allowance at Sh50,000 and research allowance at Sh75,000," Health PS Susan Mochache told MPs yesterday. 

This means each trainee will now receive at least Sh400,000 every month, inclusive of their Kenyan salaries and the study stipend.

The money is to be sent to their bank accounts in Kenya, but they can access it in Cuba.

They have been getting free accommodation and meals. But the doctors demanded they be paid to take care of their own accommodation and food. The new Sh144,000 stipend will be paid from next month. 

Mochache said between September and December last year, each trainee was paid Sh36,000 stipend every month, which is the stipulated amount by the Public Service ministry. The trainees, however, complained that the cash was little. It was increased in January to Sh50,800.

Mochache said the 50 trainees, including Dr Ali Juma who died on Sunday, have so far received Sh13.4 million in monthly allowances since the training started in September last year. In total, the government has allocated Sh300 million for their monthly stipends. It also covers other expenses. The two-year training will end next year. 

 The PS appeared before the parliamentary Health committee following concerns over the welfare of the trainees. Dr Juma is alleged to have committed suicide.

Initial reports indicated he was depressed because of a family problem in Kenya and frustrated over the harsh living conditions in Cuba. Mochache dismissed claims that he had unsuccessfully sought to visit his family back in Kenya.

His body arrives in the country today. The PS said a postmortem was carried out and they were waiting for the results. His family plans to have an independent postmortem.

On Wednesday, Health CAS Rashid Aman and two other ministry officials travelled to Cuba to assess the situation.

Kenya Medical Practitioners, Pharmacists and Dentists Union boss Ouma Oluga had claimed the trainees lived in deplorable conditions in Cuba.

But the ministry said they live in standard hostels provided for foreign trainees on special scholarships. The hostels are free and the Kenyans have access to free à la carte menu.

“The same hostels were inspected and found to be acceptable in terms of cleanliness, security and comfort by senior management of the Ministry of Health during the state visit to Cuba by President Uhuru Kenyatta in March 2018,” Mochache said.

Edited by Francis Orieny