Cholera outbreak: Zimbabwe declares emergency as death toll rises to 20

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By Blessing James, Abuja
Zimbabwe has declared a cholera outbreak in the capital Harare after the death toll rose to 20 and more than 2,000 people were infected.
The new Minister of health, Obadiah Moyo said on Tuesday that the outbreak manifested after the people drank contaminated water.
“We are declaring an emergency for Harare. This will enable us to contain cholera, typhoid and whatever is going on. We don’t want any further deaths”, Moyo said.
It was reported that authorities on Monday said 18 people have died over the past week in Harare, and scores fallen ill after a cholera and typhoid outbreak in some areas.
Such outbreaks are common as local authorities are battling to provide potable water and sanitation facilities in the city, where slums without running water have mushroomed and whose infrastructure is falling apart due to years of neglect.
Some suburbs go for weeks without running water forcing residents to fetch water from unsafe sources.
Cholera cases from this outbreak were also reported in neighbouring countries South Africa, Malawi, Botswana, Mozambique, and Zambia.
With the help of international agencies, the outbreak was controlled, and by July 2009, after no cases had been reported for several weeks, the Zimbabwe Ministry of Health and Child Welfare declared the outbreak over.
The large scale and severity of the outbreak has been attributed to poor sanitation, limited access to healthcare, and insufficient healthcare infrastructure throughout Zimbabwe.

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