According to the Kerala Government Medical Officers Association (KGMOA), at least 4,300 doctors were on strike.
The association had last night called for the agitation to protest the decision to extend the OP time in hospitals from9 a.m to 6 p.m and the suspension of a doctor, who refused to attend to work following increase in OP timings.
The government, however, maintained that only a section of the doctors were participating in the agitation.
Several patients who reached government hospitals this morning were angry that doctors were on strike.
A woman,who had come to the government general hospital here at 5 a.m, expressed anger and said the stir would cause hardship to poor patients, as they cannot afford to go to private hospitals.
"Only after coming here,I came to know that doctors are on strike," she said.
A statement from KGMOA said only the casualty wing would function during the strike and in-patient treatment would be provided only till April 18.
There would not be any new admission, it said, adding only emergency operations would be performed.
A doctor had been suspended as he refused to attend to work following increase in OP timings, KGMOA secretary, Dr Jitesh said.
He also warned that if government launched any action against them, they would further intensify their agitation.
According to the association, they were not against the increase in OP timings, but wanted more doctors to be posted.
In a Facebook post, Health Minister K K Shylaja said the agitation was to defeat the government's 'Ardram Mission', which envisages basic facilities to all hospitals in the State and making government hospitals patient-friendly.
As part of the mission, the primary health centres are being converted to family health centres to provide a comprehensive health facilities to people, the Minister said.
The government has also warned that if the doctors continue to abstain from work, stringent action would be taken.
(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)