By Humphrey Malalo
NAIROBI (Reuters) - Kenyan doctors called off a 10-day strike on Wednesday that patients' families said had left the ill to die, after the government agreed to meet some of their pay demands.
Around 2,300 doctors and dentists walked out last week demanding a 300 percent pay rise, saying they had not received any improvement in salaries for more than a decade. Doctors earn around 35,000 shillings ($390) a month, their union says, while contending with inflation at 20 percent.
After internal disagreements briefly reversed the decision to end the strike, the Kenya Medical Practitioners and Dentists Union said its members would return to work within 24 hours.
"We have called off the strike through a decision of a special delegates conference. Our members are going to abide by the return to work formula that was signed between the government and the doctors' union," Boniface Chitayi, the union's secretary general, told Reuters.
The government initially refused to meet their salary demands but has since offered cash to help doctors settle debts, for training and towards an allowance for doctors on call.
Kenya's cabinet on Tuesday said all requests for public salary increases would have to be referred to a special commission that will not be set up for another two weeks.