Deputy President William Ruto on Tuesday hosted a delegation from Cuba led by Vice President of the Councils of State Ines María Chapman Waugh for bilateral talks.
The leaders of the two countries said they were keen on strengthening relations and cooperation for the benefit of the two countries by improving the social welfare of their citizens.
Speaking during a joint press briefing at the Deputy President’s residence in Karen, Dr Ruto said Kenya would continue to cooperate with Cuba in the expansion of the health sector, one of the pillars of the Big Four agenda.
“We have had important bilateral discussions with the delegation from Cuba on important issues in the fields of health, agriculture, fisheries, trade, human resource management and water among other areas,” said Dr Ruto.
He said Kenya and Cuba would work together in the expansion of training of doctors, nurses, and community health workers on family health as part of the efforts to transform the sector.
“You are all aware that 100 Cuban doctors are helping our people in various parts of the country while our 50 doctors are doing postgraduate courses in Cuba,” said Dr Ruto.
He said the Cuban doctors have so far attended to more than 300,000 people since they arrived in the country almost a year ago, adding that Kenya was drawing lessons from the Caribbean nation in preventive and curative health.
Ms Maria was accompanied by among others Amb Armando Vergara Bueno, Deputy Director of the General Division for Bilateral Affairs at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Cuban Amb to Kenya Ernesto Gomez Diaz among others.
Dr Ruto said the two countries have agreed to expedite the malaria vector control as part of the efforts to contain the disease in the country.
“The malaria control programme will soon be rolled out once the Attorney General’s office and the Treasury finalize on some few issues,” said Dr Ruto.
He added that Cuba has excelled in agriculture, saying Kenya will borrow valuable lessons that would ensure the country is food secure.
“Cuba is also working with Kenya Medical Research Institute with a move to coming up with vaccines for Hepatitis B, HIV/Aids, diabetic foods among others to contain the spread of these diseases,” said Dr Ruto.
Ms Waugh, on her part, praised the cordial relations between the two countries, saying it would go a long way in the improvement of lives of people in the two nations.
“We will continue working together in efforts to come up with anti-malaria vaccines among other issues that we have discussed,” said Ms Waugh.
She said Cuba was impressed with the manner in which M-pesa was transforming the lives of Kenyans, saying they would explore ways of replicating the same economic venture in her country.
“The way in which mobile money transfer, M-Pesa is working and transforming people’s lives is encouraging. We will explore ways of replicating the same in our country,” said Ms Waugh.
Present were Health Cabinet Secretary Sicily Kariuki and Agriculture Principal Secretary Hamadi Boga, chairperson, Parliamentary Committee on Health Sabina Chege among others.