, HAVANA, Cuba, Apr 27 – The contract to bring 100 specialised medical doctors to Kenya has been signed by the Cabinet Secretary for Health Sicily Kariuki.
Consequently, the Cuban Government has officially released the doctors to travel to Kenya for deployment to various parts of the country, she said.
Kariuki, who signed the contract on her current trip to Havana, Cuba, said 50 Kenyan doctors will travel to Cuba to receive specialised training, which will be mostly be on family medicine.
President Uhuru Kenyatta sanctioned the bilateral agreement allowing Cuban specialist doctors to work in Kenya during a recent visit to Cuba.
Kariuki said the deployment of the doctors to rural areas will help improve access to specialist medical services and reduce the dependence on a few referral hospitals which cause congestion.
The CS said the deployment of the Cuban doctors will also provide knowledge transfer to doctors at the rural level and challenge Kenyan medical specialists to consider offering their services at the county level rather than concentrating in the big cities.
Early this week, Chief of Staff and Head of the Presidential Delivery Unit Nzioka Waita stated that under this partnership with the Cubans, Kenya is bringing in specialists in very complex areas of medicine, including ontology, nephrology and dermatology. “Specialists in these areas are few and far between, yet their services are in high demand,” he said.
Said Waita: “Our doctor-to-patient ratio remains 1 doctor to every 16,000 patients which means we are not anywhere near meeting the ratios required for the provision of quality healthcare to a majority of Kenyans.”
In a separate function, the CS held discussions with her Cuban counterparts on the progress made on the collaboration with Cuba on HIV vaccine trials.
At a visit to the Centre for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology, Kariuki also discussed progress made as well on Therapeutic Hepatitis B vaccine and diabetic foot ulcers management as it had been agreed on with the Cuban Ministry of Health.
Kariuki said a paradigm shift recognising health as an economic rather than a cost driver and shift to promoting and supporting integrated, people-centred services delivered through a primary health care approach, with anticipated efficiencies and synergies, “will yield the greatest dividends as we all strive to achieve Universal Health Coverage by 2030 for All.”
Focusing on the Primary preventive and Promotive health approach that is people centred, she said, will bring enormous benefits in terms of longer and more productive lives, higher earnings, and averted health care costs.