The Kenyan government has announced its intention to end a six-year agreement that allowed more than 100 Cuban doctors to work in Kenyan hospitals.
Health Minister Susan Nakhumicha said the move will help address challenges faced by Kenyan health workers, including the lack of employment opportunities.
“We have decided not to renew the agreement with the Cuban doctors. Our very own healthcare professionals are committed to the cause,” she said.
A 2017 deal established an exchange programme in which Cuban doctors would help fill the gap in county hospitals.
It also ensured that Kenyans would travel to Cuba for specialised medical training.
Kenyan medical professionals have opposed the deal, arguing that local doctors had the requisite training just as their Cuban counterparts did.
There were also concerns that the Kenyan government was paying the Cuban professionals much more than their Kenyan counterparts – even as some locally trained doctors remained unemployed.
Doctors and other health workers in Kenya have often gone on strike to demand higher wages, better working conditions and for more doctors to be hired.
Cuba has a long history of providing health training and support to a number of African countries.
The beneficiaries include Ghana Angola, South Africa, Nigeria, Namibia and Eritrea.
It’s unclear if other African countries benefitting from the programme will also pull out following the decision of Kenyan health authorities.