Kenyan medic commits suicide in Cuba

A Kenyan doctor in Cuba committed suicide because of depression, the Star has established.

Hamisi Ali Juma was found dead on Sunday.

He was among a team of 50 medics sent to Cuba under government sponsorship to study Family Medicine in the framework of an MoU between Kenya and the Caribbean nation.

About 100 Cuban doctors are working in Kenya.

The Health ministry had earlier reported that Cuban authorities were investigating the death.

But the Star established that the doctor, a brother of Likoni MP Mishi Mboko, had suffered serious depression before his death.

A source told the Star Juma had a seven-month-old baby in Kenya who has been sick.

Since December last year, Juma had made distress appeals to have the government allow back to Kenya to attend to his family but was rejected.

“He has been requesting the [Health] ministry to process his papers so he could travel back home to see his ailing baby but all efforts were been in vain,” the source said.

The source said that his colleagues frequently tried to talk to him so he could overcome his worries.

Kenya Medical Practitioners and Dentist Union chairman Samuel Oroko blamed the Kenyan government for his death. He accused the ministry of ignoring the plight of the team sent to Cuba.

“The government should bear full responsibility. The doctor had reported the matter to us and we tried to reach out to the government to help him but, unfortunately, our pleas fell on deaf ears,” Oroko told the Star on the phone.

He said Cuba has failed to fully implement the agreement.

Oroko said while the Cuban doctors in Kenya are treated like kings and queens, Kenyan doctors are suffering in their country.

“As we speak, they are not paid their allowances in time. The package was even slashed to 25 per cent, and, in most cases, their salaries are delayed,” he said.

“Cuban doctors are treated to free housing, free transport and full access to reliable internet, while our comrades are forced to pay for their houses, and pay for fares, with no internet connectivity. This is unfair.”

Oroko urged the ministry should to review the MoU and compel the Cuban authorities to honour it. Otherwise, it should terminate the deal and recall the doctors.

In April last year, Health CS Sicily Kariuki travelled to Cuba and signed the deal, which allowed Kenya to import 100 specialised medical doctors from Cuba. Each county got at least two.

KMPDU opposed the move saying the foreign medics got a better deal than Kenyan doctors got under the 2017 CBA.

“According to the terms in the CBA, our specialist doctors should have been placed in Job Group S and T, but they have been put in M, N and P. This is quite discriminative and grossly unfair to our medics,” KMPDU secretary general Ouma Oluga said.

The deal put the Cuban medics in Job Group S, each getting more than Sh800,000 monthly from the Kenyan government. The government dismissed the claims, saying they would earn the same as their Kenyan counterparts but would be given free housing, transport, and other privileges.

Oluga took issue with what he termed unfair working conditions given to Kenyan doctors, compared to the Cubans.

“Our doctors are expected to work between 55 and 96 hours a week against the 40 hours a week the Cubans will be expected to work, yet they still earn a fraction of the expatriates’ salary and allowances. This is clearly unfair,” he said.

Photo Credits: courtesy

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