Uganda and Kenya have shockingly resorted to importing doctors from Cuba despite the high unemployment levels in the East African counties.
The move has received a lot of position from local medics and the public.
On Wednesday 18, 2018, Uganda’s Minister of State for Health Sarah Opendi revealed that government will not be stopped from bringing in health experts from Cuba who can fill the gap of consultants especially in upcountry referral hospitals that are short of specialists. Opendi said Ugandan doctors don’t want to work in upcountry hospitals.
She revealed that Cuban doctors will be slightly paid above Shs5m.
Shockingly, in the proposed 2018/19 salary structures, Ugandan consultants/specialists in the health sector have been given Shs4.6m, from Shs3.4m they have been receiving.
However, the MPs on Parliament’s Health Committee Chaired by Bukuya County MP, Micheal Bukenya were not convinced with Cuba health workers idea.
MPs wondered why the same money that is going to facilitate and pay Cuban doctors should not be rather paid to local health workers to improve their working conditions and provide motivation allowances to see them remain working here.
However, Muluri Mukasa, the Minister for Public Service assured the same committee that the talks between the two governments of Uganda and Cuba are ongoing to see when these specialists can come in.
A team from ministry of health and other government officials were in Cuba a month ago over the same matter.
Cuban Doctors Expected In Kenya In July
On the other hand, Kenyan media reports that the first batch of Cuban doctors is expected in the country in July to help tackle the malaria pandemic, the Ministry of Health said on Wednesday, brushing aside rising opposition from local medics.
Waqo Ejersa, the Head National Malaria Control Programme at the Ministry of Health (MoH), said Kenya is expecting 10 vector control experts and an additional 100 doctors from the communist state, following agreements signed during President Uhuru Kenyatta’s recent visit to the island nation.
Dr Ejersa said the Cuban experts will oversee the spraying of stagnant water bodies in eight counties around Lake Victoria where malaria prevalence is high.
The preventive method, scientifically known as larviciding, involves killing of mosquitoe larvae.
“The spraying to be carried out by the special team from Cuba will involve application of bio larvicides to the breeding sites. The biological products used will interfere with growth of mosquitoes from the larvae stage. The first phase of the programme will last two years and we have reserved Sh500 million for the project,” said Dr Ejersa during a malaria briefing in Nairobi.
Local medics have opposed the planned importation of Cuban doctors citing remuneration bias and ‘lack of work ethic’ by some foreign doctors.
Kenya Medical Practitioners, Pharmacists and Dentists Union (KMPPDU) demanded the Ministry of Health employ the more than 1,200 local doctors before flying in medics from Cuba.
KMPPDU secretary-general Ouma Oluga termed the ministry’s move a waste of public resources.
“The Cubans are not coming to do anything we cannot do. They are bringing nothing special to the table,” said Dr Oluga.