The Kenyan Medical Practitioners, Pharmacists and Dentists Union (KMPDU) on Monday said that the government’s plan to hire 100 Cuban doctors, was unethical because there are enough doctors locally.
President Uhuru Kenyatta agreed to the deal to hire the doctors in 2017, while the plan was accelerated after his state visit to Cuba in March.
However Ouma Oluga, secretary-general of KMPDU, told journalists that “there are 2,000 Kenyan doctors that require employment and 170 specialists have not been deployed by the Ministry of health.
“We do not understand why a government would be creating employment for another country and not her own,” he said.
The dispute reflects an attempt by the government to resolve the problem of inadequate healthcare provision that many medical professionals say has been left to fester by successive administrations.
According to official data, Kenya’s doctor-to-patient ratio is one to 16,000, far below a recommendation of the UN World Health Organisation of one to 1,000.
The government said that doctors in far-flung hospitals lacked specialised skills, forcing patients to pay to travel to the capital Nairobi or abroad for treatment.
Media report says doctors say they are underpaid and lack equipment.
In March, four members of staff at Kenya’s largest referral hospital were suspended for starting brain surgery on the wrong patient.
In 2017, the government granted doctors a pay rise promised in 2013 after a three-month strike.
Mr Oluga said KMPDU will not interfere with the government plan of importing doctors.
“If the Kenyan government wants to bring Cuban doctors that are up to them” he stressed.
The doctors are expected to arrive in June and each county should get no less than two.
They will work in a country where medical provision is split between central government and 47 county governments.
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