Kenya: 53 More Cuban Doctors Arrive in Kenya

26 September 2021

Kenya received a second cohort of 53 Cuban doctors this week as part of a medical exchange programme.

Cuba's ambassador to Kenya, Ernesto Gómez Díaz, said this group will begin working ahead of the arrival of another.

"A further 15 are expected to arrive soon. Our doctors are happy to work in Kenya," said Diaz.

Kenya had asked for 101 specialists but Cuba could only offer 68 due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

In a statement, the Health ministry said the doctors were sent to Kenya after the Council of Governors made a request.

Kenya and Cuba signed a new cooperation agreement when Health Cabinet Secretary Mutahi Kagwe visited that country in June.

CS Kagwe said the government is looking for enhanced cooperation between Cuban and Kenyan institutions, such as the Kenya Medical Research Institute (Kemri), in an effort to bridge knowledge gaps through medical research.

"The relationship between our two countries can only get better and deeper because we have an institutional framework that goes beyond individual involvement. Having seen the management of Cuba we have a lot to share and learn from each other," he said.

Regarding the safety of the Cuban doctors, CS Kagwe said the Kenyan government is committed to ensuring the return of doctors Assel Herrera and Landy Rodriguez who were abducted by suspected Al-Shabaab terrorists two years ago.

Welfare matter

The ministry further noted that the government has been working to strengthen Kenya's primary healthcare system as a catalyst to achieving universal healthcare said the Health ministry in a statement.

Cuban doctors who served earlier were offered furnished homes, air fare for holidays, paid utilities and transport, on top of their salaries, in a deal agreed with governors. It is not clear yet whether this cohort will enjoy the same perks.

More on this: Revealed: Secrets of the Kenya-Cuba doctors deal

The initiative is part of a medical exchange programme between Kenya and Cuba which saw slightly over 50 Kenyan doctors sent to study in Cuba.

The medics returned and were deployed to hospitals across the country.

Kenyan doctors have decried the employment of Cuban doctors while many locally remain unemployed.

So far, 537 interns and 1,023 foreign doctors are registered In Kenya, with Nairobi, Mombasa, Kiambu and Uasin Gishu having hired the hired numbers.

Cuba's most valuable export is its own healthcare professionals with the socialist regime allowing the government to collect a portion of the incomes earned by Cuban workers abroad.

Thousands of Cuban doctors work abroad under contracts with Cuban authorities, with neighboring Uganda importing these doctors as well.

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