The Kenyan government will now outsource more doctors, this time cancer specialists from the United States, India and China.
Director-General in the Ministry of Health Dr Wekesa Masasabi said the government had considered Cuba again but opted not to after assessment showed the Cuban doctors were not the best for the job.
“We were exploring Cuba but we were later informed that their expertise in cancer does not rank that high internationally,” said Masasabi.
Kenya had imported a hundred doctors from Cuba in 2018, a move that was not well received in the country after taxpayers learnt the government was breaking major bank to pay their wages. The Cubans were primarily specialists in family medicine, they were divided across the 47 counties, for a two-year period.
Masasabi says the three countries chosen have the best cancer specialists with Kenyans flooding the countries for cancer treatment. He says the ministry is looking into some of the existing ties Kenya has with these countries with a bid to expand them to include the clauses on importation.
“We already have broad Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with these countries, so we will look into which ones we can tweak to include this,” said Masasabi.
Speaking at an intergovernmental stakeholder meeting on health between counties and the national government that ends today, he said the decision has been informed by the recent surge on cancer cases.
Kenya has 35 oncologists against 47,000 new cases of cancer every year according to data released by the ministry. Upto 32,000 deaths are as a result of cancer every year, according to the Globocan data by the International Agency for Research on Cancer.
Masasabi claims the idea by governors to have a cancer centre in every county is unrealistic. “We actually do not need 47 cancer centres. We need to sit and find how we can work together. I think the issue here is that there has been some disconnect between Ministry of Health and county governments,” he said.
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