First batch of Cuban doctors to arrive in Kenya in July even as local medics oppose the move

Kenya Medical Practitioners, Pharmacists and Dentists Union (KMPPDU) has demanded the Ministry of Health first employs the more than 1,200 local doctors.

  • Kenya plans to import 100 Cuban medical specialists and in return send 50 local doctors to Cuba for specialised training.
  • The Cuban experts will oversee the spraying of stagnant water bodies in eight counties around Lake Victoria.

The Cuban doctors are expected to help tackle the malaria pandemic, the Ministry of Health said on Wednesday.

Waqo Ejersa, the Head National Malaria Control Programme at the Ministry of Health (MoH), said Kenya is expecting 10 vector control experts and an additional 100 doctors from the communist state, following agreements signed during President Uhuru Kenyatta’s recent visit to the island nation.

The Cuban experts will oversee the spraying of stagnant water bodies in eight counties around Lake Victoria where malaria prevalence is high.

“The spraying to be carried out by the special team from Cuba will involve application of bio larvicides to the breeding sites. The biological products used will interfere with growth of mosquitoes from the larvae stage. The first phase of the programme will last two years and we have reserved Sh500 million for the project,” said Dr Ejersa during a malaria briefing in Nairobi.

The preventive method, scientifically known as larviciding, involves killing of mosquitoe larvae.

In total, Kenya plans to import 100 Cuban medical specialists – with each county getting at least two – and in return send 50 local doctors to Cuba for specialised training.

Kenya Medical Practitioners, Pharmacists and Dentists Union (KMPPDU) have opposed the move and demanded the Ministry of Health employ the more than 1,200 local doctors instead of importing the Cuban medics.

KMPPDU secretary-general Ouma Oluga termed the heath ministry’s move a waste of public resources.

“The Cubans are not coming to do anything we cannot do. They are bringing nothing special to the table,” said Dr Oluga.

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