PANIC has gripped some relatives nursing patients at the University Teaching Hospital (UTH) in Lusaka where nurses and midwives have pressed on with their strike.
The nurses have vowed not to resume work until their grievances are addressed.
The nurses and midwives on Friday last week stopped work demanding, among other things, that Government rectifies disparities in the new salaries and conditions of service recently awarded to civil servants.
A woman who was found nursing a sick relative said the nurses should put the interests of the patients first.
“Life is more important than money, they should get back to work and then sort out their problems later,” said the woman who did not want to be named.
Another relative said there was uncertainty at UTH as the strike was seemingly taking its toll on the doctors, senior and student nurses and defence personnel who had been mobilised to fill in the gaps left by the striking workers.
UTH public relations manager Mwenya Mulenga said operations in the critical departments of the hospital had not been affected as defence personnel and senior health staff had continued to provide health care services.
Meanwhile, Labour and Social Security Minister Fackson Shamenda has implored the Zambia Union of Nurses Organisation to engage the nurses and explain the processes involved in labour disputes.
Mr Shamenda said in an interview that Government was already in talks with the union officials and that their continued strike was jeopardising the negotiations.
Some patients at Livingstone General Hospital have expressed disappointment at the continued strike by nurses as well as clinical officers and paramedics.
A check yesterday by the Times at Livingstone General Hospital, Batoka Hospital and Maramba Clinic showed that nurses and other essential support staff were not working. Only doctors were working with the help of general workers and student nurses.
Mary Milambo, a diabetic patient found at Livingstone General Hospital, said it was unfortunate that the nurses had continued with their strike when they were supposed to be offering humanitarian and medical services to patients.
times of zambia