Zambia is losing 800 teachers every year to AIDS-related illnesses, EI affiliate the Zambia National Union of teachers (ZNUT) has warned.
"The country has had a critical shortage of teachers, and this has been worsened by the pandemic," ZNUT secretary general Roy Mwab said.
"This has made it critical for the government to employ a substantial number of teachers from colleges."
In response, the permanent secretary in the Ministry of Education, Lillian Kapulu, said the government would employ 10,000 new teachers nationwide this year.
Official government figures show that some 16 percent of Zambians are living with the HIV virus.
In addition to the strain on the education sector, an increasing number of qualified nurses have been leaving Zambia to work abroad, leaving hospitals short of staff to attend to patients.
"As a country we are supposed to have 16,000 qualified nurses but now we have 8,000 making their work more difficult bearing in mind the fact that the remaining workforce was working under unfavourable conditions due to overstretching," said Zambia Nurses Association (ZNA) executive director Jennifer Munsaka.