Two Cuban doctors working in Mandera County have been forced to work on their own after their counterparts fled the area for fear of terror attacks.
The two; Dr. Herera Correa, a general practitioner and Dr. Landy Rodriguez, a surgeon; are however determined to stay put.
Dr. Correa sees 20 patients per day during his eight-hour shift while Dr. Rodriguez handles about 10 surgical procedures daily; they are on call 24 hours a day.
Local medics recently left in droves due to the threat posed by Al-Shabaab.
“Before I came here, I checked the internet and saw that Mandera is very dangerous with frequent attacks from Al Shabaab but we have worked in far worse conditions,”said Dr. Rodriguez.
The two Cuban doctors say they have already started learning Kiswahili and Somali since language barrier is their greatest challenge.
Luckily, one of the local doctors, Dr. Ali Osman who decided to remain with them was trained in Cuba.
He speaks fluent Spanish and is the one who acts as a translator for the Cuban doctors
“They communicate easily in theatre using medical language and since they came, major operations have been very successful,” says hospital’s Medical Superintendent Dr Mohamed Adan. Ms Dekha Tawane had a hernia foetus growing inside her uterus and went into labour for four days in the bush.
“With the help of the team in the theatre, I managed to extract the baby in a bid to remove pressure from the mother’s belly. Both the mother and baby are in good condition,” says Dr Rodriguez, who performed the operation for two hours.
Mandera County Health Executive Ahmed Sheikh Mohamed says the Cuban doctors are a blessing because getting personnel in specialized cadres has been a huge challenge.