Mentorship directive creates new Kenya-Cuban doctors rift

 Susan Mochache
Health PS Susan Mochache. FILE PHOTO | NMG 

The Ministry of Health has directed Cuban doctors to mentor their local counterparts, reigniting the on-and-of supremacy battles that have rocked public service sector since the foreign specialists arrived in the country a year ago.

In a memo, Health Principal Secretary Susan Mochache asked all county health executive members to ensure medical superintendents implement the directive.

“In order to realise full benefits from the Cuban doctors programme in various health facilities at counties, it is important to ensure that they are paired with Kenyan doctors in those stations for mentorship as per the bilateral agreement and recommendations of the rapid assessment team,” she said.

Kenya Medical Practitioners, Pharmacists and Dentists Union (KMPDU) has already reacted sharply to the “contemptuous and disrespectful directive issued to its members who have been offering high quality services before the Cuban deal.”

“Indeed, over 98 percent of patients are attended to by Kenyan doctors with good treatment outcomes. Doctors across the world learn from each other in a mutual framework within the profession without the need for such high level politicisation,” the union said in a letter signed by Deputy Secretary-General Chibanzi Mwachonda.


“There have been cases of malpractice from the Cuban doctors, according to reports by Kenyan doctors. The learning can be both ways and not one way as depicted in the letter.”

Kenya flew in about 100 doctors – 47 specialists and 53 family physicians - in June last year as part of efforts to address human resource challenges that have rocked the public sector since independence. Local doctors have resisted the move citing employment terms discrimination in favour of the Cubans.

The ministry also said 48 Kenyan doctors on State-sponsored training to Cuba will undertake a one year training on surgical disciplines in Kenya.

Health Cabinet Secretary Sicily Kariuki said that upon completion of the training in Cuba for two-year course in general comprehensive medicine the students will come back to Kenya for an additional year.