Kenyan government defends importation of 100 Cuban doctors

The move has received huge backlash from Kenyan doctors

State House Chief of Staff and Head of the President's Delivery Unit, Nzioka Waita said the move is not a condemnation of the country's professionals but rather seeks to address the shortage of specialised medics.

He also cited the poor doctor-patient ratio which stands at 1:16,000, adding that "we are not anywhere near meeting the ratios required for the provision of quality healthcare to a majority of Kenyans."

“Our efforts to boost access to specialised medical service at county level is not a condemnation of our own professionals," he said in a statement.

"Rather, it is mere recognition that we need more specialised doctors, especially those prepared to leave the comfort of big cities to serve in rural communities where they are more needed."

Grassroot levels

He cited another goal as building expertise and capacity at the grassroots level four and five hospitals.

While the government is committed to recruiting more local doctors, Waita noted that their training takes long so it is easier to import.

According to Health CS Sicily Kariuki, Kenya is currently grappling with a shortage of 42,800 health workers.

The Cuban doctors are said to have started training in the capital Havana with the first batch expected in the country in July.

The Kenya Medical Association had asked President Uhuru Kenyatta to drop the plan and hire locals.

Doctors want the government to only seek foreign specialists as a last resort.

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