Senators to visit Cuba in probe of doctors’ mistreatment claims

Senate Speaker who is the Senate Committee on Powers and Privileges Chairman Kenneth Lusaka addressing the media at Parliament on Tuesday 28/08/18. Senate is investigating claims of mistreatment of Kenyan doctors in Cuba. [Boniface Okendo,Standard]

Members of a house committee that is investigating claims that Kenyan doctors who are in Cuba are living in deplorable conditions are set to visit the Latin American country.

The Senate Health Committee last week launched a probe into the welfare of the 49 doctors who are on an exchange programme in Cuba, amid complaints that deplorable living conditions led to the death of one of them Dr Ali Juma.

On Wednesday, Senate Speaker Kenneth Lusaka directed the House Committee on Health, chaired by Senator Michel Mbito (Trans Nzoia) to probe the matter and produce a report within two weeks.

 Speaking to The Standard on Sunday, Mbito revealed that his team was planning to visit Cuba to find out how the medics are faring on with their studies and if they are experiencing any challenges.

“The Clerk is yet to confirm the date we should be traveling, but it should be this week since we have less slightly over a week to conclude the probe," explained the committee chairperson.

 "Ours will be purely a fact-finding mission. As a committee we will also be interested to hear from the doctors themselves," explained Dr Mbito.

The move by the Senators to visit the doctors comes at a time when the government has vehemently denied claims and reports that the medical personnel in Cuba are leading difficult lives.

On Thursday, Health Principal Secretary Susan Mochache told the MPs that the Ministry has not received any information on mistreatment from the doctors, revealing that the group enjoys preferential treatment.

PS Mochache who appeared before the National Assembly’s departmental committee on health disclosed that the doctors receive salaries and allowances of at least Sh300, 000 per month.

 In her submission before committee chaired by Murang'a Women Reprentative Sabina, the official explained that the each of the doctors receive a stipend Sh 50, 800 as allowances, adding that their salaries range from between Sh84,000 to Sh130,000 depending on their job group.

According to the Mochache, other allowances include Sh20,000(commuter), Sh30 000(extraneous), Sh80,000(emergency), Sh30 000(Health risk), Sh20,000(non-practice), Sh50,000(Health risk) and Sh75,000 (Research).

“We have not received any information on mistreatment from the doctors apart from a request that they start paying them stipend of Sh140,000 instead of the current Sh50,000 that they are enjoying. The request was made through the Kenyan embassy in Havana,” explained the PS.

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CubaKenyan doctorsSenate Health CommitteeKenneth LusakaSusan Mochache