Kenyan hospitals hit by doctors' strike

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Doctors treat a patient in Mombasa, Kenya on 9 August 2012Image source, AP
Image caption,
The strike does not affect emergency treatment

Thousands of doctors in Kenya have embarked on an indefinite strike to demand that the government spend more money on health services.

The strike has affected hospitals, with doctors only giving emergency treatment to patients, the BBC's Frenny Jowi reports from the capital, Nairobi.

Teachers and university lecturers are already on strike, paralysing the education sector.

The cabinet said it would meet on Friday to discuss the crisis.

Our reporter says that doctors at Kenya's main referral hospital, the Kenyatta National Hospital in Nairobi, told her they were striking mainly to demand that patient care improves.

They want the government to upgrade hospitals and build more health facilities.

'No teaching'

The doctors complained that patients were forced to share beds, and some died on the floor of corridors without receiving any treatment, our reporter says.

The doctors, who earn about 80,000 Kenyan shillings ($948; £588) a month, were also demanding better pay, but insisted that this was not the main reason why they were striking.

However, trainee doctors, who work for free, felt strongly they should be paid, our correspondent says.

The cabinet plans to hold a special meeting on Friday to see how it can end the crisis in both the health and education sectors, she says.

Most children in Nairobi have not been going to school since teachers went on an indefinite strike earlier this month to demand wage increases of between 100% and 300%.

University lecturers are also on strike to demand better working conditions.

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