TUESDAY JANUARY 1 2019
- Uhuru secured space for its 50 doctors to study in the Caribbean island famed for its healthcare system.
By PATRICK LANG'AT
If you were to ask Foreign Affairs Cabinet Secretary (CS) Monica Juma to name the most memorable State visit President Kenyatta made last year, she will not hesitate to name the historic trip in March to the island nation of Cuba.
The visit came barely a month after the CS was sworn into office and it was the first time a Kenyan Head of State was visiting the Caribbean island nation since the two countries established diplomatic relations in 2001.
It is during the trip that the President sealed a deal that saw 100 Cuban doctors come to Kenya in June. Forty-seven would work as specialists and 53 family physicians would be deployed to the counties.
At the same time, Kenya secured space for its 50 doctors to study in Cuba, famed for its world-class healthcare system.
In an interview with the Nation, Dr Juma described 2018 as the year when Kenya “could not have been at a better place globally”, and how the Cuban trip opened the stage for many other global engagements.
“That State visit to Cuba set parameters of what form we would wish the visits to take in terms of value. We have been very careful in our preparations for State visits since that time,” she said, adding, the ministry has focused on re-engineering State visits.
The CS said that Kenya was reviewing the relationships it has with other nations to monitor progress and seek room for improvement.
“What has happened in the last 10 months is the insistence of making sure that every move is bringing returns that are concrete and measurable, and it has been very deliberate in doing so,” Dr Juma said in reflection of a year that saw Kenya attract global attention.
The CS spoke just a few days after Kenya organised the inaugural global Blue Economy Summit co-hosted with Canada and Japan — a forum that brought together leaders to discuss the untapped potential of the oceans, lakes, and rivers.