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A UK paediatrician’s experience of a strike in Kenya
  1. Polly Charlotte Kenyon
  1. Correspondence to Dr Polly Charlotte Kenyon, Paediatrics, Royal Hospital for Children, The Queen Elizabeth University Hospital Campus, 1345 Govan Road, Glasgow G51 4TF, UK; pollykenyon{at}

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In 2016 I worked in a district hospital in Kenya through the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health (RCPCH) Global Links programme. While I was there, there was a national strike of all government-employed doctors and nurses as a result of years of discontent about pay and conditions. The effects were devastating.

The Kenyan healthcare system consists of government, mission and private hospitals—all charge user fees. There is a national health insurance system, but it is unaffordable to most and only 20% of Kenyans have any health insurance.1 16% of people do not seek care when they require it due to financial constraints and 38% must borrow money …

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  • Contributors PCK wrote this article. Dr Ruth Bland, Dr Fiona Burnett, Dr Kirsty Houston, Mr Peter Nash, Dr Siobhan Quinn and Dr Sue Stevens all reviewed the article and offered feedback on the draft article.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; internally peer reviewed.