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State dismisses claims Cuban doctors ‘unfit’

George Kebaso @Morarak

The government has dismissed claims by Kenya Medical Association (KMA) that Cuban doctors posted in different parts of the country to offer specialised treatment are unqualified.

Health Principal Secretary Peter Tum and Director of Medical Services Jackson Kioko said the 100 Cuban doctors meet the required qualifications to serve in Kenya’s health sector and will stay until their contracts expire.

 The PS said KMA members participated in vetting the doctors and should, therefore, not turn against them. “The Kenya Medical Practitioners and Dentists Board (KMPDB), senior ministry officials, members of KMA, and other medical professionals spent two weeks in Cuba interviewing the doctors, and we were satisfied that what we got the best,” Tum told People Daily.

Kioko said the government might launch investigations into KMA’s complaints because  “the Cuban doctors were doing exemplary work in their work stations going by testimonies of the Kenyans they have served”.

On Saturday KMA raised concerns over the competency of the Cuban doctors, saying their qualifications are unclear.

“The Association will in the coming weeks propose legislation to deal summarily with charlatans and unqualified actors who put Kenyans’ lives at risk and get away only with slaps on the wrist,” KMA president Jacqueline Kitulu said in a council meeting in Nairobi.

“How can the government bring in unqualified doctors yet the World Health Organisation (WHO), the global health standards body, is watching us?” posed the PS on the phone in response.

Kioko said the Cuban doctors were recruited in a transparent and competitive peer review process where their academic documents were scrutinised and given a clean bill of health.

 “We recruited people who have attained Masters and PhDs levels in their respective fields. This was done through peer review. We sat down and vetted them. What we got is the best, and they were ready to work in areas where Kenyan doctors did not want to go,” he said.

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