Governors receive Cuban specialists but maintain shortage still high

From left, Coast General Hospital administrator Dr Iqbal Khandwalla, Mombasa County deputy governor William Kingi with Mombasa bound Cuban doctors. [Mkamburi Mwawasi/Standard]

Several counties yesterday received the Cuban doctors who have been dispatched to the devolved units.

Busia got a family doctor and a nephrologist - David Rodrigues and Sorangel Taylor respectively.

Kakamega received family physician Alba Gercia, who specialises in comprehensive health care, and intensivist Milver Gomez - a specialist in critical care.

Busia Health Executive Phaustine Barasa said the county needed 63 doctors in its public hospitals. Governor Sospeter Ojaamong said the arrival of the two Cuban doctors was timely.

The medics will be based at the Busia County Referral Hospital, which has recorded a large number of patients from neighbouring Uganda.

Kakamega Governor Wycliffe Oparanya received the Cuban medics and said: “We have about 104 doctors and we need 250 (more). Others have gone to further their studies.”

“The two will help us address the shortage and give affordable treatment.”

Kisumu received a neurosurgeon, a critical care specialist and a family health physician.

Governor Anyang’ Nyong’o allayed fears that some sub-counties would not benefit from the doctors’ expertise.

“Where the doctors are posted are just their points of call. We have a strategy that will see them go round the county. We have vehicles and we want to make maximum use of the specialists,” said Prof Nyong’o.

The family health physician was posted to the Kombewa sub-county hospital in Seme, while the other two were to set up base at the Jaramogi Oginga Odinga Teaching and Referral Hospital.

Kisumu East MP Shakeel Shabbir criticised the deployment of the doctors, saying some regions had been favoured. He said the medic who was sent to Seme should have been posted to the Kisumu County Hospital.

In Samburu, the Maralal referral hospital received two doctors. Doctors Iliano and Eliezer Alcalea are a couple not new to the African continent, having worked in Zimbabwe from 2004 to 2006.

Samburu Deputy Governor Julius Leseeto said: “We have already installed new theatre machines in Maralal, Baragoi and Suguta Mar Mar hospitals and I believe the two doctors will serve the people of Samburu effectively.”

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In Nyeri the two doctors dispatched to the county met Governor Mutahi Kahiga and county health officials yesterday.

Mr Kahiga said Diana Rosa, a general practitioner, and Eisy Vasquez, a nephrologist, wouldbe based at the Nyeri County referral hospital. “While Dr Rosa may be sent to any facility, Dr Vasquez will be a valuable specialist for our renal unit as we have never had a specialist in the department,” he said.

Dr Rosa said she had 20 years’ experience in medicine and had worked in three other countries.

“I am happy to be here, and I look forward to working with you and learning the local languages and making lasting working relationships,” she added.

At the Coast, three doctors were deployed to the Coast Provincial General Hospital and Mlaleo Hospital in Mombasa County.

Mombasa Health Executive Hazel Koitaba said the doctors had already started working.

Doctors Margenis Gener Artilez (ophthalmologist), Lilian Zuniga Fernandez (gastroenterology) and Damisela Zayaz Valdes, who deals in family medicine, arrived on Monday.

Ms Koitaba received the doctors, saying: “We are happy to have the doctors here with us. Hopefully their input will help meet the medical needs of the people of Mombasa County. The doctors... will be making visits to the different sub-county hospitals for consultation by patients.”

She added that patients should not be worried that they have to travel to where the Cuban doctors have been posted since they would visit all the hospitals in the county.