•The 48 started by learning the Spanish language and before proceeding with their family medicine course in March 2019.
•They will be deployed to their respective counties and will act as the first point of contact for all patients in an effort to prevent disease occurrence
Kenya’s Universal Health Coverage programme has received a shot in the arm after 48 Kenyan specialists graduated from advanced training in Cuba.
The 48 doctors were selected from counties and sent to Havana in September 2018.
They went through two years training in family medicine and 38 weeks of customised training to orient them to transition their knowledge to the Kenyan context.
They started by learning the Spanish language before proceeding with a family medicine course in March 2019.
The doctors will be deployed to their respective counties and will act as the first point of contact for all patients in an effort to prevent disease occurrence.
They will also be working in identifying risk factors with a special attention to biological, social, psychological and environmental factors.
With actions of health promotion, prevention, early diagnosis, treatment and rehabilitation.
The specialists graduated on Wednesday in an event graced by Health Cabinet Secretary Mutahi Kagwe, Cuba ambassador to Kenya Juan Manuel Rodriguez.
Council of Governors chairperson Martin Wambora and CoG health committee chairperson Anyang Nyong’o among other health stakeholders.
“We looked to Cuba because they made significant gains in achieving UHC," Kagwe said.
"We are looking to borrow from the medical administration course offered in Cuban universities which lays a lot of emphasis on primary healthcare, premised on prevention other than curative.
“We admire that physicians don’t just wait in facilities but visit households from where they encourage households to adopt healthy choices such as diet and hygiene."
Kenya has been trying to borrow from the Cuban system which focuses on primary healthcare as opposed to secondary healthcare with family medicine programme being at he the core.
Cuba has placed emphasis on the availability of healthcare by ensuring that it has a sufficient number of professionals and is oriented in such a way that prevention happens at primary level.
“Training of the 48 Kenyans is a step towards provision of accessible healthcare for all which is key part of the Big Four transformative agenda," Kagwe said.
"We are keen on delivering on both physical infrastructure and qualified human resources for health in our UHC promise.”
Kenya and Cuba have pledged to enhance bilateral relations in the field of research, vaccines and pharmaceutical products as the former moves to implement further reforms in the health sector.
Kenya began implementing a health agreement signed with Cuba in 2017, which is expected to build the capacity in specialised medical fields.
Last month, 10 Cuban Malaria Vector Control experts were deployed to the eight malaria endemic counties in a renewed effort to ensure elimination of the disease in the country.
The experts will work with health teams in the respective counties for two years within which they will transfer their skills to local malaria control experts.
They will be working with their Kenyan counterparts at both national and county level to map out key breeding sites for spraying using biological methods to kill the mosquito larvae at the breeding sites.
This larviciding exercise is expected to accelerate Kenya’s efforts towards malaria elimination.
(Edited by Tabnacha O)