Patients suffer as doctors observe strike across Kenya

Several patients have died as a result of the public sector doctors' strike that began in December 2016 to demand higher wages.

Photo by: AP (Archive )
Photo by: AP (Archive )

Kenyan nurses and other health-workers on strike demonstrate over low pay at Uhuru Park in downtown Nairobi, Kenya on December 8, 2016.

Doctors in Kenya's public sector have walked off the job nationwide, in a demand for higher wages. The strike has paralysed the country's public healthcare system. It means many patients are not receiving the care they need.

At least seven doctors were jailed earlier in February for failing to call off the strike that began in December 2016 and has seen several die due to lack of medical care. The strike had been initiated by doctors at public hospitals 

A 5,000-member union, that represents doctors, wants the government to implement a deal agreed in 2013 to raise basic salaries by 150 to 180 percent, review working conditions, job structures and criteria for promotions, and address under-staffing in state hospitals.

The doctors were arrested in contempt of a ruling by the country's industrial court in January this year that said the strike was illegal. The doctors' union had rejected the ruling.

The matter was moved to the country's supreme court, which has ordered both sides to negotiate an end to the strike.

TRT World's John-Allan Namu reports.