President Uhuru Kenyatta on Wednesday flagged off 100 Cuban doctors to the counties. The President hailed the arrangement stating that Kenya's health sector stands to benefit immensely from the intervention.
"Our doctor-to-patient ratio of 1 doctor to every 16,000 Kenyans remains an obstacle towards achieving Universal Healthcare Coverage. Local specialists are few and far between, yet their services are in high demand in the country. The bilateral agreement between Kenya and Cuba will therefore enhance health collaboration in specialized service provision and also build the capacity of our local doctors," said President Kenyatta.
The President added, "The 100 Cuban doctors specializing in cardiology, nephrology and neurosurgery, amongst other specializations, are now ready to move to the counties and I am delighted to formally send them off to deliver the much needed services to the people of Kenya. Let us embrace and support them."
Speaking at the event held at the Medical Supplies Agency (KEMSA) depot in Embakasi, Nairobi, Health Cabinet Secretary Sicily Kariuki said that the launch of the immunization drive which included release of a variety of medical equipment, motorcycles and vehicles for use by health personnel would ensure a wider access to children in all corners of the country.
The cabinet secretary said that her ministry was ready and delighted to welcome the specialists whose experience in primary healthcare provision will go a long way in strengthening Kenya's efforts to achieve universal healthcare.
Also present at the event was Cuba's ambassador to Kenya Ernesto Gomez Diaz who said that the deployment of the specialist doctors was key in cementing the growing bilateral relationship between Kenya and Cuba.
The envoy observed that more than 400,000 Cuban doctors work in 65 countries across the globe and those in Kenya are willing to share their experience even as they learn from their local counterparts.
On his part, Isiolo Governor Mohamed Kuti, who is also the chairperson of the health committee of the Council of Governors, said that counties are ready and grateful to the national government for the Cuban doctors.
Governor Kuti added that days when county governments were in constant competition and acrimony with the national government are long gone and that the two levels of government are pursuing a path of win-win engagements.
"The successful deployment of the Cuban doctors to the Counties and the official roll out of the immunization campaign signals a new era of a mutually beneficial relationship between the national and county governments," Governor Kuti said.
The Cuban doctors dispatched to the Counties comprise of critical care physicians, cardiologists, oncologists, radiologists, orthopaedic surgeons, maxillofacial surgeons and plastic reconstructive surgeons among other specializations and were allocated to Counties based on Kenya's disease burden spread.
As part of the bilateral arrangement, Kenya and Cuba are in the final stages of negotiating a major agreement on malaria vector control through use of biolarvicide technology available in the Caribbean country.