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Cuban President Raul Castro (right) receives Kenya's President Uhuru Kenyatta at the Revolution Palace in Havana on March 15, 2018. Cuba has a lower infant mortality rate than Kenya.

Spokesperson’s Briefing

State House

29 April 2018

Good afternoon.

There are a few things to highlight this week.

First. That the Health Cabinet Secretary, Sicily Kariuki, has just returned from a week’s visit to the Caribbean nation of Cuba, where she sealed a number of important agreements that have been in the pipeline for some time.

Many of you have highlighted the bringing in of 100 Cuban medical specialists already. And, despite some opposition to them from various quarters, it will be worth noting that a delegation from our doctors’ professional body, the Kenya Medical Practitioners and Dentists Board, led by the very able Professor George Magoha, was in Cuba to look at the quality of expertise we are getting. And they are satisfied.

We just want to emphasise that 50 Kenyan doctors are headed the opposite direction, and will return as specialists. So, clearly we are taking the necessary steps to increase our specialist ranks.

As we’ve explained, these doctors are going to be deployed across all counties, where specialists are in scarce supply. We urge stakeholders to remain engaged with the Ministry of Health if there are issues that require addressing, but a programme such as this one has only one intention: to meet the needs of ordinary Kenyans across the country who require services. We also encourage our own specialists to make themselves available to counties, where they are greatly in demand, in order to ease pressure on referral facilities.

Second. On Wednesday, the 2nd of May, the President will deliver the first State of the Nation address of his second and last term as President.

This address — to the joint sitting of Parliament — is in terms of measures the President has taken and the progress achieved in the realisation of national values; progress made in fulfilling Kenya’s international obligation; and the state of our nation’s security.

A number of journalists have been asking what the President will say, but clearly we all have to wait to hear what the President will say. What we can say, though, is that the Constitution requires him to address the nation, through an appearance in Parliament, to speak to the three issues I have raised, and to share his views on the long-term shaping and reimagining of our country.

Manoah Esipisu, MBS

29 April 2018