Kenyans woke up Monday morning to media reports that a Kenyan doctor on a government scholarship to Cuba had committed suicide.
The ministry of health also confirmed the death of Dr. Hamisi Ali Juma, assuring that the body will be flown in from Cuba on Tuesday.
Immediately the Kenya Medical Practitioners Pharmacists And Dentists’ Union (KMPDU) management issued a brief statement promising to issue a full statement through their secretary general.
The doctors in the programme have often complained of poor conditions yet the government has done nothing to make their stay in Cuba worthwhile.
Dr Thuranira Kaugiria, who is the KMPDU secretary-general for Nairobi, said the doctors who travelled to Cuba were given a raw deal and had on several occasions unsuccessfully sought to air their grievances with the ministry.
Dr. Hamisi is survived by a wife and a eight-month-old son who had been unwell for some time, he was set to travel to see them.
Here is the full text statement from Kenya Medical Practitioners Pharmacists And Dentists’ Union (KMPDU) released a few hours ago.
STATEMENT ON THE DEATH OF DR. HAMISI ALI JUMA IN CUBA
On Sunday 17th March 2019, the KMPDU learnt of the sad and sudden death of Dr. Hamisi Ali Juma.
The doctor was found dead in his Hostel in Havana Cuba where he was on a Kenyan Government sponsorship to study Family Medicine. Investigations leading to the death have since been commenced by Cuban and Kenyan Authorities.
KMPDU deeply condoles with the Juma Family at this time of sorrow and mourning.
We note with regret the devastation that the incident has left on the immediate family and the 49 Kenyan doctors in Cuba under similar sponsorship.
The Kenyan – Cuba arrangement has left Kenyan Doctors vulnerable, frustrated, and in deplorable conditions. This follows failure by the Kenyan Government to secure proper housing conditions, pay the promised allowances and allow the doctors to reconnect with their families.
The KMPDU can authoritatively report that Dr. Hamisi Ali Juma (deceased) had expressed desire to terminate the program for the reasons mentioned above.
The doctors have constantly expressed their frustrations with the manner in which the Government has withheld or completely failed to pay their living expenses in a foreign country. Further, the Kenyan Embassy exhibits high-handedness when concerns are raised.
It is ironical how Cuban Doctors here receive the royal treatment with chauffeured transport. lavish living, and triple the pay of Kenyan specialists funded by taxpayer money.
KMPDU demands an immediate termination of the training programme in Cuba as it has proven NOT beneficial to the doctors. Instead, we recommend that the sponsorship be provided though the five local Kenyan universities.
Signed: Dr. Ouma Oluga, Secretary General