Kenyan doctors trash Cuban medics contracts

Wednesday, June 17th, 2020 00:00 | By
Cuban specialist doctors being addressed by Ministry of Health officials in Nairobi when they arrived in 2018. Photo/PD/FILE

Kenyan doctors have protested a move by the government to renew work contracts for about 100 specialist doctors from Cuba to work in local public hospitals.

Through the Kenya Medical Practitioners, Pharmacists and Dentists Union (KMPDU), the medics have termed the extension of the contracts by two years “an insult” to their profession and Kenyans in general.

On Monday, Health CS Mutahi Kagwe announced the extension of the bilateral agreement between Kenya and Cuba on provision of the specialised doctors.

However, KMPDU insisted yesterday that there was “no value for money in hiring of the expatriates”.

“We have made our position well known, the only thing we are saying is that right now with the Covid-19 pandemic, Kenyan doctors are still unemployed and they are giving priority to Cuban doctors.

That is discrimination,” said KMPDU acting Secretary General Chibanzi Mwachonda.

He added: “We were not even consulted and even we did not expect them to consult us because they have all along ignored us on the same issues. They have their priorities upside down.”

The renewal came a few hours after county governments and Kenyans asked for the whereabouts of the Cuban doctors.

In a letter sent to the Council of Governors (CoG) chairman Wycliffe Oparanya, Kagwe says the expatriates will continue to provide specialised healthcare services in counties.

The CS said counties “will continue meeting their obligations to the doctors as per the memorandum of understanding.”

However, the memorandum has never been made public and it is not clear how much each of the doctors earn.

“The continued services of the doctors in the counties is therefore assured. During this renewed period, the ministry will be reviewing the specialization mix to respond to the needs within the counties,” Kagwe said.

The doctors’ contracts expired early this month. However, some Kenyans and medics feel their presence has not been felt especially in the ongoing fight against Covid-19.

There were high hopes that they could help public hospitals address healthcare challenges facing counties across the country.

The specialists were expected to work in underserved rural counties where medical facilities face myriad of challenges including inadequate staff and equipment.

Access to improved specialised medical services in many of the counties still remains a far-fetched dream.

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