14ymedio, Havana | 28 June 2018 — After the controversy and a short course at the School of Sciences in Nairobi, the Cuban doctors in Kenya left Wednesday from the capital, sent off by crowds of people, to the counties where they will undertake their work.
The president himself, Uhuru Kenyatta, attended the event and subsequently published images of the moment on his Twitter account, writing:
“The 100 Cuban doctors specializing in cardiology, nephrology and neurosurgery, among other specialties, are now ready to move to the counties and I am delighted to formally send them off to provide much-needed services to the Kenyan population, let us embrace and support them.” He also posted photographs in which the healthcare workers are seen on buses bidding farewell to the authorities, Cuban flag in hand.
The doctors arrived in the country on June 6 pending the resolution of a complaint that tried to challenge their hiring. Three unemployed Kenyan doctors had filed the case in the Employment and Labor Relations Tribunal arguing that doctors in Kenya should have priority over Cubans.
On June 19, Judge Onesmus Makau dismissed the complaint alleging that it was not proven that the rights of doctors and other specialists had been violated by the decision to import Cuban doctors.
The Union of Doctors and Dentists of Kenya (KMPDU) had also opposed recruitment on the grounds that it would cost taxpayers billions of shillings.
“The Cuban doctors will cost the taxpayer more than 2 billion shillings (about 20 million dollars) plus the additional costs of security, transportation, housing and food from the governments of the counties,” said the general secretary of the union, Ouma Oluga.
The President issued a statement on Wednesday explaining that in the next 100 days his Government will launch a campaign to immunize 400,000 children, which is expected to increase coverage, currently some 80%.
In the same communication, he took the opportunity to talk about Cuban health workers, praising the agreement and the benefits it will bring to Kenya.
“Our ratio of 1 doctor to every 16,000 Kenyans remains an obstacle to achieving universal health care coverage. Local specialists are few and far between, however, their services are in great demand in the country. The bilateral agreement between Kenya and Cuba, therefore, will improve health collaboration in the provision of specialized services and will also develop the skills of our local doctors,” said Kenyatta.
Cuba’s ambassador in Kenya, Ernesto Gómez Díaz, attended the event and said that the deployment of medical specialists was key to consolidating the growing bilateral relationship between Kenya and Cuba.
As a part of the pact, Kenya and Cuba are negotiating an agreement on the control of malaria vectors through the use of biolarvicide technology available on the island.
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