Kenyan doctors are seeking to block the government’s plan to deploy 100 Cuban doctors to fill gaps in the country’s health care system. A group of unemployed doctors filed a lawsuit against the move, arguing that as citizens, they should have been hired first. But the Kenyan government has defied a court order blocking it from hiring the Cubans.
Despite opposition from Kenyan doctors and sections of the public, Kenyan health officials are going forward with a plan to use Cuban doctors in the country’s public health care facilities starting next month.
In doing so, the government also is defying a court order suspending the employment of some 100 doctors who arrived in the country last week.
A petition was filed by four Kenyan doctors. Their lawyer, Anangwe Maloba, says the doctors feel discriminated against in terms of employment and pay.
“We are submitting that the decision to pay Cuban doctors a higher or a better remuneration package than the local ones is discrimination, that they all ought to be a similar remuneration, they ought to belong same job group. The second point was that for the unemployed specialist doctors is that they are almost 171 specialist doctors who have not been able to secure employment to public health facilities,” said Maloba.
Kenyan media reports say the Cuban doctors will be paid at least $8,000 each month. The doctors also will get free housing, transport and airfare.
The court of employment and labor relations is expected to issue a ruling next week on the Cuban doctors. The question is, will the government heed its decision?