Kenya Medical Practitioners Pharmacists and Dentists Union (KMPDU) is dissatisfied with the government’s decision to bring on board 20 Cuban doctors.
The foreign medics belong to a Brigade of Henry Reeve, specialized in epidemics and disaster.
They will be in Kenya for a period of six months and will be stationed at Kenyatta University Referral Hospital.
Speaking during the union’s 8th COVID-19 briefing, secretary general Chibanzi Mwachonda said that there were more than 1,000 qualified local doctors who are still jobless.
The union wants the unemployed medics to be given jobs in the next two weeks.
“We have seen 20 Cuban doctors said to be specialists brought on board. The irony is that it has taken more than four months for the government to engage its own local doctors. That is in bad taste,” Mwachonda said.
Mwachonda also noted that the workforce on the ground was already overstretched and the situation could get worse at the rate at which healthcare workers are contracting the novel COVID-19.
“The workforce on the ground is currently overstretched. There was an advert to employ more doctors but we are yet to see them employed and deployed,” he said.
“The healthcare workers are burned out. We appreciate the work the government is doing but this is a matter of priority.”
The union also wants health workers provided with N95 masks and their risk allowance packages fast tracked.
The Cuban doctors arrived last week on Thursday, Health CS Mutahi Kagwe confirmed.
He said, “The idea here is for these doctors to work with our own doctors to gain knowledge from each other. Since 2018, we have worked in partnership to improve healthcare services with the Cuban government. This partnership has seen Kenyan doctors receive specialised training in Cuba and Cuban doctors provide healthcare services throughout our country.”