Don’t politicise hiring of Cuban medics, says CS

Seth Mwaniki @MwanikiM

Health Cabinet secretary Sicily Kariuki has urged Kenyans not to politicise the hiring of Cuban doctors by the National government. She instead asked them to support the government as it explores measures to boost service delivery in the health sector. The CS said the 100 medics, who are coming in on a two-year contract are meant to address the shortage of specialised doctors.

Kariuki’s sentiments came after concerns were raised on the fate of locally-trained doctors, who are yet to be absorbed into county’s health sector through formal employment. She said the National government is in the process of engaging all counties to deliberate on modalities that will see general doctors who graduated last year employed.

The CS spoke yesterday in Nyeri during a familiarisation tour of the county health facilities. She said Nyeri county health facilities have had operational challenges more so the County Referral hospital that was recently found to be operating without some key equipment. But the CS said that while this is in itself a serious problem in such a facility that ought to be immediately addressed, all referral hospitals need to be decongested to allow them engage in teaching and referrals only.

“Our referral facilities have a bigger challenge because they are in most cases attending to outpatient services that can easily be handled even at dispensary level. These are some of the small challenges that both County and National governments shall address,” she said.

She said of necessity will be to engage the 75,000 community health workers in the country to conduct basic tests on some diseases such as blood sugar other than having the same done in bigger health facilities.

Nyeri Governor Mutahi Kahiga said most county health facilities are grappling with staff shortage. The county spends Sh2.4 billion annually on health sector where Sh2 billion goes to recurrent expenditure while Sh400 million is channeled to development.

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