The Cabinet Secretary for Health Nakhumicha Wafula disclosed Wednesday that the government will not renew doctors’ contracts signed between Kenya and Cuba following the news expiry of the deal in June this year.
Amid applause from various healthcare stakeholders who were attending the Pre-National Dialogue on Human Resources for Health including the Kenya Medical Practitioners Pharmacists and Dentists’ Union (KMPDU) and Kenya Union of Clinical Officers (KUCO), Nakhumicha noted that the local workforce is capable of dispensing similar expertise offered by their Caribbean counterparts.
Kenya signed a health agreement with Cuba in 2017 that actualized an exchange programme where Cuban doctors would come into the country to help fill the gap in county hospitals while Kenyan doctors were sent to Cuba for specialized training.
“We are not going to renew the agreement with the Cuban Doctors because I believe our very own are going to be committed to the cause” she disclosed.
The CS, while describing the health workers as the fuel that powers and makes the health system work, underscored the commitment by President William Ruto’s administration to address challenges facing the industry, particularly the healthcare professionals, by putting in place robust strategies geared towards strengthening pillars of local health system, including health products and technologies, health information and healthcare financing.
“A strong healthcare system results in a healthier population, which forms the basis of a productive workforce and a strong economy. This, in return, is a strong economic driver, contributing to the growth of the national economy. It is therefore vital that appropriate policies are not just formulated, but that they are developed with strong input from those most directly involved in their execution, the healthcare workers” she said.
“We are well aware that health workers are facing major challenges in the execution of their mandates at both national and county levels. The challenges are diverse, ranging from training and development, staff welfare and progression, performance management and motivation, health worker safety and welfare, and staff mobility, including transfer across counties and levels of government. Yet, health workers continue dedicating themselves to the service of Kenyans despite the challenges. ” added Nakhumicha
USAID Health Office Director John Kuehnle on his part affirmed the agency’s agenda of continuing to work with the the Republic of Kenya in promoting activities of Community Health Workers (CHWs) and Community Health Promoters (CHPs).
“Today’s event is key to standardisation of practice of implementing PHC using primary care networks, which enhance comprehensive and integrated healthcare service delivery by bringing various levels of health care and health workers together in a coordinated manner.I want to appreciate the government for embracing principles towards affordable health care which is a bold step towards UHC that seeks to put the patient at the centre of priority through integrated health systems and as one of development partners we reiterate our dedication of collaboration with both counties and national government to make this happen” remarked Kuehnle
Also present was World Health Organization Country Representative Dr Diallo Abdourahmane who commented Kenya’s leadership in global health in Africa, stating that the government has prioritized health, and WHO is ready to support the country in unpacking public health.
Diallo who previously served as a Minister of Health and Advisor to the President of Guinea from 2016 to 2019, a period where the country was dealing with the Ebola crisis noted that the two-day Dialogue is aimed to address the issues surrounding the country’s healthcare system, in areas of health financing, human resources for health, health products and technologies, and the need for digitization.
“Health workforce is the critical element of health care and as WHO we’re absolutely in support of Kenya’s programs to galvanize the health situation in the country in delivery of UHC which will impact positively to the citizens especially the financially weak and disadvantaged in the society” noted Diallo
“Health workforce is paramount in achievement of Sustainable Development Goals. Kenya has made commitment both globally and locally to ensure that health personnel is available, retained and facilitated to contribute immensely towards affordable health care” added Diallo who boasts of vast experience in international development and public health
The two-day meeting which comes to a culminating on Thursday at a Nairobi Hotel was also attended by Acting Director General Dr Patrick Amoth, Principal Secretary for State Department of Public Health and Professional Standards Mary Muthoni among others.