THE DISASTER OF NKANDU LUO AS MINISTER OF HEALTH IN 1999
For those who may be too young to know, or memories have faded, Professor Nkandu Luo once served as Health Minister under President Frederick Chiluba.
Her time as health minister was characterized by doctors and nurses strikes due to poor working conditions and inadequate medicines in hospitals.
In December 1999, over 300 junior doctors went on strike demanding better conditions of service, this ground the operations at UTH and other hospitals to a halt.
Professor Luo and President Chiluba fired all 300 doctors and replaced them with Cuban doctors who were paid hefty salaries, many times more than the Zambian doctors were crying for .
President Chiluba subsequently moved Luo from the ministry but the damage had already been done.
Thousands of Zambian nurses and doctors left the country to go and work in Botswana, South Africa and the UK during the tenure of Nkandu Luo as Health Minister at a time when the country was grappling with an HIV AIDS Pandemic.
The brain drain and loss of expertise in the health sector took over 10 years to overcome.