Kenya has agreed to pay 100 Cuban doctors a monthly salary of up Sh882,180.
Health Cabinet Secretary Sicily Kariuki said the the government signed an agreement with Cuba that puts the medics in Job Group S.
This means each of the doctors will earn more than parliamentary majority and minority leaders, principal secretaries, the army commander, inspector-general of police who earn Sh765,188 per month.
Also earning less than the Cuban medics are Navy and Air Force commanders, members of Parliament, senators, county assembly Speakers and deputy governors who pocket Sh621,250 per month minus allowances.
“The doctors are coming in as specialists and have been absorbed into the medical service at Job Group S which caters for specialists,” CS Kariuki said.
The CS dismissed recent social media reports saying the government would spend close to Sh2 billion annually on the doctors, saying there was no basis for spending that kind of amount on their pay.
In the new collective bargaining agreement signed between the doctors’ union and the government last year, medics in Job Group S are entitled to a minimum salary of Sh 86,810 and a maximum of Sh882,180.
In addition to the hefty salary, the Cuban doctors will get furnished homes, air fares during their annual leave, paid utilities and transport from both national and county governments.
Ms Kariuki did not give any details on the amount of money the Cuban government would be paid for hiring out its doctors to Kenya.
“I negotiated with the government of Cuba and did not deal directly with any doctor, and therefore my relationship is with the Cuban government. We would have lost focus if we would have chosen to go for individual recruitment. In hiring them, we worked within our bilateral agreement framework,” she said.
Cuba’s socialist government has hired out thousands of its doctors to work abroad while collecting part of the salaries they earn there.
This has enabled it generate steady revenue from doctors, who are the country’s most valuable export.
Kenyan doctors represented by the Kenya Medical Practitioners, Pharmacists and Dentists Union (KMPDU), have strongly opposed the move to import doctors, saying the foreign medics got a better deal than the one they were given in the 2017 CBA.
“According to the terms contained 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,” said Dr Ouma Oluga.
Dr Oluga also took issue with what he termed the unfair working conditions given to Kenyan doctors compared to the Cubans.
“Our doctors are expected to work between 55 to 96 hours a week against the 40 hours a week the Cubans will be expected to work and yet they still earn a fraction of the expatriates’ salary and allowances. This is clearly unfair,” he said.