What you need to know:
- In March 2018, the government started implementing a health agreement signed with Cuba in 2017, an exchange programme that involved bringing into the country several Cuban doctors to help fill gaps in county hospitals.
The 48 doctors Kenya took to Cuba to study family medicine have graduated and will now be integrated into the country’s health system across various counties, according to the Ministry of Health.
“We sent 50 students at the time but one dropped out while the other died,” said Health Chief Administrative Secretary, Dr Rashid Aman.
In March 2018, the government started implementing a health agreement signed with Cuba in 2017, an exchange programme that involved bringing into the country several Cuban doctors to help fill gaps in county hospitals.
“Just recently, 90 Kenyan doctors arrived in the country from Cuba after receiving specialised training as part of the exchange programme. These doctors are being absorbed into county hospitals to help boost health delivery capacity at that level,” he said.
Additionally, Cuban health professionals have arrived in the country to help in mapping out key mosquito breeding sites as part of measures to control malaria. This will be implemented through a two-year project on the use of biological methods for the control of mosquito vectors, the Health ministry announced recently while explaining that the visit to Cuba by Health CS Mutahi Kagwe aimed to consolidate knowledge, expertise, and actions that are already underway to achieve an effective primary health system in Kenya.
“The country stands to learn from Cuba’s effective primary health care model, which has been tried and tested for many years. Kenya now looks to shift its approach and focus more on preventive as opposed to curative approaches, which is currently how the country’s health sector is oriented,” observed Dr Aman.
Prof Nadia Edenia Marquez Morales, the lead Cuban professor who was in charge of the students while they were abroad, lauded the cooperation between the two governments.
“The seed of our public health training will now remain in this country, we are very proud. The best medicine is that which prevents, not that which cures …” he said.
Kisumu Governor Professor Anyang’ Nyong’o reminded the graduands of their duty. “I wish to congratulate the graduands while reminding them that the future of Kenyan healthcare depends on them.”
“This is proof of your readiness to move the Universal Health Coverage (UHC) agenda forward and I wish to let you know that this week, I asked my officers in Embu to open an account dedicated to health alone so that funds meant for health will not be redirected to anything else and as of now we have Sh7 million in that account. You will not see us begging for any medical supplies,” Council of Governors Chairman Martin Wambora said.
CS Kagwe, who was the chief guest, highlighted that the number of Cuban doctors in the country is now at 76.
“In the words of author Gina Greenlee, experience is a master teacher, even when not our own. The Ministry of Health is keen on learning from those who have accomplished what we are looking to accomplish and for sure learning from Cuba and other nations remains highest on our priority list. We wish to thank President Uhuru Kenyatta who put us on this path, this is what he envisioned as there are many opportunities in Cuba that remain untapped, especially in the area of pharmaceutical, biotechnology, and vaccines and we look forward to a more robust collaboration," said the CS.
He urged doctors to smile more. “When you speak to many patients who go to seek treatment abroad, all they want is the caring touch, someone to treat them kindly, smile when talking to them, is patient and accommodative and this makes a very big difference.”