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Volunteers Staff Strike-Bound Hospitals

March 21, 1987

LUSAKA, Zambia (AP) _ Missionaries, student nurses and other volunteers staffed state-run hospitals and clinics Saturday as nurses continued a strike for higher pay and compensation for caring for AIDS patients.

The Daily Mail newspaper said 40 children died because of lack of medical care due to the strike, but gave no details.

The strike, in its fourth day, followed a walkout by teachers from most government schools last month. The 38,000 teachers, who earn an average of $55 a month, are demanding 50 percent pay increases to counter inflation estimated at 600 percent annually.

Most primary and secondary schools have been closed by the strike. The government has offered unspecified salary increases and urged both teachers and nurses to return to work and negotiate through their union.

The nurses also are demanding pay increases of at least 50 percent, and some are pressing for unspecified allowances for caring for victims of acquired immune deficiency syndrome, or aids.

Most nurses earn slightly less than teachers.

Officials said hundreds, perhaps thousands, of nurses were on strike in a dozen cities including Lusaka, the capital.

Local journalists in central Zambia, where the strike began, reported some unattended patients had died in Ndola and Kitwe hospitals, but the reports could not be verified.

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