The government of Kenya has announced a significant shift in its healthcare strategy, revealing that it will not renew its agreement with Cuban doctors.
Instead, the country will focus on harnessing the capabilities of local healthcare professionals to address its medical needs.
Health Cabinet Secretary (CS) Susan Nakhumicha delivered the noteworthy declaration, underlining the commitment to empower the nation's own medical workforce.
She expressed her confidence in the potential of a motivated and well-supported domestic medical workforce.
"I want to say as a ministry and as your Cabinet Secretary, I have no doubt that we are going to have a very very motivated workforce, that is well taken care of and on that note I'm pleased to announce that we shall not be renewing the agreement for the Cuban doctors," Nakhumicha stated.
"Because I want to believe that our very own are going to be committed to the cause."
The announcement comes after years of criticism from medical unions such as the Kenya Medical Association (KMA) and the Kenya Medical Practitioners, Pharmacists, and Dentists Union (KMPPDU).
The unions argued that the state should have employed local medical care specialists before looking for help elsewhere.
In 2018, Kenya signed a deal with Cuba to allow 100 Cuban healthcare specialists to work in the country. In return, Kenya sent 50 doctors to Havana to be trained in family medicine.
However, the deal was unpopular with Kenyan doctors, who argued that the Cuban doctors were being paid more than their Kenyan counterparts.
Critics also argued that the money spent on the Cuban doctors could have been better spent on Kenya's medical infrastructure or on training more Kenyan doctors.
The government's decision to end the deal with Cuban doctors is a welcome move for Kenyan medical unions.
However, it remains to be seen whether the government will be able to fill the gap left by the Cuban doctors with qualified Kenyan healthcare professionals.