KENYA:Cuban doctors get Sh1bn budget

June 2018 Business Daily; The Treasury has allocated Sh1 billion to cater for salaries and other benefits due to the 110 Cuban doctors, who started arriving in the country early this month.

The doctors will take home a total of Sh563 million in salaries annually, according to a breakdown presented to the National Assembly’s Budget and Appropriations Committee (BAC).

“The committee was informed that the project is a bilateral agreement between Kenya and Cuba and has an allocation of Sh1,001,922,000,” Kimani Ichung’wa, who chairs BAC, says in a report on the budget estimates for the 2018/19 financial year.

It was not, however, possible to determine whether this is a full-year budget for the Cuban doctors or an initial budget that will benefit from additional allocation in supplementary budgets.

Kenyan doctors’ training

The Sh1 billion also includes an allocation of Sh238 million that has been set aside for training of 50 Kenyan doctors for a two-year postgraduate course in Family Medicine in Cuba.

Besides, a one-year diploma course in Family Medicine at the Kenya Medical Training College (KMTC) has been allocated Sh100,922,000 and a further Sh100 million has been allocated for Malaria Vector Control Programme.

The last batch of doctors arrived last Thursday with the first lot having jetted into the country on June 5.

Their arrival at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA) marks the culmination of a deal signed between Kenya and Cuba for the deployment of 100 specialist doctors in local hospitals.

Contracting of the medics has, however, caused outcry from local doctors, who have opposed the move arguing that expertise being imported is readily available in Kenya.

The Cuban medics are undergoing training at the Kenya School of Government where they will be inducted into the local healthcare system.

Dr Rashid Aman, the chief administrative secretary at the Ministry of Health, said the doctors are being trained on how the Kenyan healthcare system works before being deployed to public health facilities across the country.

Local counterparts

After the training, the foreign medics will be introduced to their local counterparts working in stations where they have been deployed.

‘The main idea in bringing these specialists is to learn from the Cuban experience in building a robust primary and curative healthcare system that has afforded the country universal health care,’ Dr Aman said adding that Kenya would send 50 local doctors to Cuba to be trained in family medicine.

The team will comprise one doctor from each of the 47 counties.

The Cuban specialists arrived in Kenya at a time when a Kenyan doctors had filed a petition in court seeking to stop the government from licensing them to practise in local clinics.

Kenyan medics argue that their foreign counterparts were single sourced to the disadvantage of local practitioners.

The petition filed by one Samson Robert Misango said argues that there has been no evidence that Kenya has a shortage of doctors to fill any vacancies in the public health system.

The Ministry of Health has yet to advertise any such vacancies, making their existence questionable.

The Health ministry has previously said that a shortage of up to 42,800 health workers stands in Kenya’s journey to realis.

 

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