Health Cabinet Secretary Sicily Kariuki has dismissed claims that the Cuban doctors coming to Kenya will be overpaid and described those opposed to the scheme as "not a critical set of people".
Speaking in Geneva, Switzerland, after the conclusion of the 71st World Health Assembly, Kariuki singled out the media for what she termed as inaccurate reporting.
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“Group S pay is not Sh800,000 as has been reported,” she said.
Job Group S is the second highest grade for civil servants at a basic salary of Sh160,600 to Sh315,700. This is according to the Public Service Commission salary review for civil servants effective July 1, 2017. Going by the doctors’ CBA, total allowances of Sh280,000 for the job group bring that figure to a gross salary of Sh440,600 to Sh595,700.
“I really do think, without underestimating where the dissent may come from, it’s really not a critical set of people. So, it will be easy to get a conversation going with them and explain if they have any specific issues they want clarified,” said Kariuki.
But Kenya Medical Practitioners and Dentists Union (KMPDU) Secretary General Ouma Oluga said the CS's comments were disturbing.
"Saying doctors are not a critical set of people is quite telling of how doctors have been treated and how she intends to treat them in her tenure," said Oluga.
The decision by the Government to bring in 100 specialists from Cuba has been opposed by Kenyan doctors.
Dr Samson Misango, a consultant surgeon, filed a suit at the High Court to bar the government from bringing in the Cuban doctors.
Dr Misango says there is no evidence that the government tried to recruit Kenyan doctors before reaching out to Cuba.
“When you rock the boat, or status quo is disturbed, there will always be resistance,” Isiolo Governor Mohamed Kuti said of the doctors’ union's concern over the Cuban doctors.
“I don’t think all the doctors are against the arrival of more doctors to support our population.”
The doctors’ union says there are 1,683 unemployed doctors, 171 of whom are specialists who could have been employed by the counties.