STRIKING nurses and midwives at the University Teaching Hospital (UTH) in Lusaka have defied Government's directive for them to resume work.
The nurses, who on Friday staged a work stoppage demanding that the Government rectifies disparities in the new salaries and conditions of service, snubbed the Health Minister Joseph Kasonde's order on Sunday that they return to their duty posts immediately.
The work stoppage at Zambia's biggest referral hospital started on Friday last week, and patients were now being attended to by doctors, senior and student nurses, as well as defence personnel mobilised by the Government to cushion the negative effects of the strike.
A Times reporter yesterday found student nurses in various wards attending to some patients.
Some student nurses interviewed said the situation was normal but tense, adding that they were doing their best to meet the needs of patients.
"The situation is normal but we are facing some challenges. Some patients become emotional when you delay to attend to them but we are keeping it cool and trying our level best.
"For now we are managing but I think we will not go for too long," a female student nurse said.
The Health Minister, Dr Kasonde said in an interview that he expected the nurses and midwives to heed his order and go back to work.
Dr Kasonde said that as of yesterday, nothing new had happened, although Government and union representatives were locked up in meetings to try and find a lasting solution to the problem.
"No, nothing has been resolved. It's a dynamic situation as it's changing every minute. I can't tell you immediately what the latest is because I have been here with you for over an hour," he said.