‘Cuban doctors to cost Ksh.2 billion,’ claims doctors union

‘Cuban doctors to cost Ksh.2 billion,’ claims doctors union

The Kenya Medical Practitioners and Dentists Union (KMPDU) has strongly criticised the move by the government to hire 100 doctors from the Caribbean nation of Cuba.

KMPDU claims that bringing in the Cuban doctors is an unnecessary expenditure that will cost the country more than Ksh.2 billion and could also weaken Kenya’s health system.

“Cuban Doctors will cost the taxpayer more than Ksh.2 billion without the additional expenses of Security, Transport, Housing and Food by the County Governments,” says KMPDU is a statement issued by Secretary-General Dr. Ouma Oluga.

“The importation of Cuban doctors is an unnecessary expenditure of taxpayers money and potentially harmful to the unsuspecting Kenyan public while weakening the Kenyan health system and demoralising Kenyan doctors.”

According to KMPDU, the decision to hire foreign medical specialists was done in haste and with no transparent engagement with local medical stakeholders.

“That decision to import doctors from Cuba was done with haste and with no regard to the over 2,000 doctors including specialists available for employment and deployment to all the 47 counties to provide the much needed services to vulnerable Kenyans,” adds KMPDU.

The doctors union says Kenyans cannot be assured of the quality and caliber of specialists who will be jetting into the country as local health professionals were not involved in the process.

“Kenyans must therefore be vigilant as medical malpractice and medical negligence cases have been rampantly documented in other countries such as South Africa where doctors were imported without consulting the health professions,” adds KMPDU.

In an apparent contradiction of KMPDU’s stand that there was no consultation in the importation of Cuban doctors, State House spokesman Manoah Esipisu on Sunday said officials of the doctors union had been taken to Cuba and were satisfied with the quality of specialists being hired.

“Many of you have highlighted the bringing in of 100 Cuban medical specialists already. And, despite some opposition to them from various quarters, it will be worth noting that a delegation from our doctors’ professional body, the Kenya Medical Practitioners and Dentists Board, led by the very able Professor George Magoha, was in Cuba to look at the quality of expertise we are getting. And they are satisfied,” said Mr. Esipisu.

The government says the Cuban doctors will be deployed across all counties, where specialists are in scarce supply.