By CHETI PRAXIDES
Monday January 25, 2021
Orthopaedic surgeon Dr Liliana Casos, and Dr Dennis Orozco, a family physician, speak to former Health CS Sicily Kariuki at the King Fahad hospital in Lamu in 2018. Image: CHETI PRAXIDES
Lamu residents are pleading with the national governments to bring back Cuban doctors so as to help improve the deplorable health sector in the region.
Following the medics strike across the country, patients in the region are only left with private hospitals, which are out of reach to many.
The health sector in Lamu has come under heavy criticism over the year due to the poor state of public hospitals and dispensaries, most which lack drugs and other amenities.Many residents say that bringing back Cuban doctors will help salvage the health sector as they always reported to work even when other medics were on strike.
On April 15, the national government recalled all Cuban doctors operating in counties on the Kenya-Somalia border including Lamu, Tana River,Wajir and Garissa and redeployed to safer areas.
This was shortly after two Cuban doctors operating in Mandera were abducted by Al Shabaab militants as they headed to work and sneaked into Somalia where they remain held to date.
The two doctors moved from Lamu were Dr Liliana Casos, an orthopaedic surgeon, and Dr Dennis Orozco, a family physician, and had served for just about ten months after reporting in 2018.
Lamu community leader Sharuti Ali said the government should bring in other medical experts to replace the Cuban doctors or simply bring back the two.
“When they were around, we would always get medical care even when our Kenyan medics were on strike, they would always report to work. Now nurses are on strike and everything at all hospitals and dispensaries is at a standstill. Patients are suffering. Please bring back the Cubans,” said Ali.
Lamu elder Omar Abdulla said health care had become expensive for most locals.
“Times are hard with Covid-19 and everything and yet the government obviously doesn’t plan to look into the plight of medics and nurses. At least let them bring back the Cuban doctors so that we don’t suffer for something out of our control,” he said.
Lamu county has four hospitals and over 30 dispensaries, all of which face immense shortage of staff, drugs and infrastructure.