We want our Cuban doctors back in Tana River, county official says

CS Ministry of Health Cecily Kariuki. [File/Standard]

A top Tana River County Government official has appealed to the national government to re-deploy back to the county two Cuban medical specialists who were withdrawn over security concerns.

The Tana River County Health Executive, Mwanajuma Hiribae said that the withdrawal of the doctors had greatly affected service delivery at the Hola County Referral Hospital where they were based.

The two, Dr Oriol Valon Costa, a surgeon, and Dr Madelin Areas Hall, a family doctor, were withdrawn from the county following the abduction of two of their colleagues by suspected Al Shabaab militias in Mandera County more than one month ago.

Speaking in Hola town, Hiribae said that that the two medical experts had been of great help to the county and their withdrawal had created a big void since the county does not have enough doctors.

“The presence of the general surgeon from Cuba had greatly helped reduce the number of patients referred to health facilities in other counties seeking the services of surgeons,” she said.

She said that the family physician, apart from serving patients at the hospital, was making great efforts to follow up patients at their homes.

Mrs. Hiribae said the notion that Tana River was an insecure county was untrue, noting that there were no incidents that could indicate that the doctors were not safe.

“Tana River is one of the safest place because we have not had any incidents that could be viewed as a threat to the security of the doctors,” she said.

When the doctors were withdrawn in April, Tana River County Commissioner, Oning’oi Ole Sosio said the action had been taken as a safeguard following the abduction of their colleagues in Mandera.

“They were withdrawn as a safeguard measurehe said when asked why they had been taken away from the hospital yet there had not been any terrorist attack in the county in recent times.

Before they were withdrawn, the two Cubans had blended well with residents and local leaders had nicknamed and even given local names as Bagana and Harufa after the names of former acting County Secretary Salim Bagana and County Public Service Management Executive, Harufa Algi.