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Cholera spreads unabated in Zimbabwe


HARARE - Zimbabwe is struggling to contain a cholera outbreak as infections pass the 5,000 mark.

READ: Cholera cases rise in Zimbabwe

Over 400 new cases were recorded over the past week.

There have been 115 deaths since February.

Government blames a lack of basic hygiene and, surprisingly, some religious groups.

This week 402 new cholera cases were recorded countrywide, with the capital, Harare, and Buhera rural district in Manicaland province being hotspots.

Zimbabwe health minister Douglas Mombeshora said, "there is any element of some religious objectors who don't seek medical attention, who don't really send their children to school."

"So their knowledge is slightly less as compared to other districts; that's why it was a bit difficult in Buhera when the epidemic erupted in Buhera district."

"Basic hygiene that is what we are encouraging now in all provinces to scale up awareness in the communities through traditional leaders through church leaders."

But health experts have a different explanation.

Itai Rusike from the Community Working Group on Health said, "public health fundamentals or the cause of cholera have never been properly addressed since the cholera outbreak of 2008 and 2009 which I think was a marker for the government to invest in water and sanitation infrastructure."

"Now we are seeing cholera being reported in rural settings which is very worrying mainly because people in those rural areas are also competing for unsafe sources of water with their animals "

In a bid to curb the spread of cholera, the government has ordered that funerals, burials and other gatherings must be supervised by health officials.

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