, HAVANA, Cuba, March 17 – Kenya is on the edge of far-reaching agreements with Cuba that will transform healthcare and deliver on one of President Uhuru Kenyatta’s key priorities in his second and final term.
Kenya is looking at agreements on accelerated cooperation in health that will cover prevention and treatment of malaria, hypertension, diabetes and hepatitis B. The cooperation will also cover prevention and treatment of a range of livestock diseases.
Today, President Kenyatta ordered his senior health ministry staff to remain in the Cuban capital Havana, where he is on a state visit, until the agreements with specific details were signed.
The President began his second day of state visit by touring Centre for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology, where he was presented with detailed scientific approved health and medical preventive approaches being used in the Caribbean nation.
Cuba has well-researched methods in human medicine that have seen the country become a health leader among developing nations.
The Chief Administrative Secretary (CAS) Dr. Rashid Aman who is remaining behind will be joined at the weekend by other ministry of health officials and executives and technical staff from leading research institutions.
The officials will agree and sign a deal on cooperation covering a range of medicines at the stage of clinical trials, vaccines and in-demand pharmaceutical covering a range of diseases common in Kenya.
The Head of State was briefed on why Cuba had opted to invest in social services for better economic results.
Cuba’s Centre for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology which began with only six scientists in 1980, is now a force to reckon with in the medicinal world, having 22,000 scientists and producing medicines, especially for tropical diseases.
President Kenyatta later today officially opened the Kenyan Embassy in Havana.
During the opening of the Chancery, Foreign Affairs Cabinet Secretary, Monica Juma and her Cuban counterpart, Bruno Eduardo Rodríguez Parrilla signed a Memorandum of Understanding on visa exemption for the citizens of the two nations.
The visa exemption will allow Kenyan holders of diplomatic passports and civil servants who are holders of ordinary passports to enter, remain and exit without restrictions for a period not exceeding 90 days.
Speaking after the signing ceremony, CS Juma said the embassy is the first in the Caribbean region and is important not only in terms of Africa’s heritage but in also establishing people-to-people interaction.
She said a number of areas will be covered under the MOU taking care of high-level delegations between the two countries.
“The signing of the MOU on Visa Exemption opens great opportunities for both Kenyans and Cubans to do business and we should, therefore, exploit this opportunity,” she added.