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Cholera Epidemic Abates In Parts Of Zimbabwe, But Spreads Elsewhere

Health conditions on Zimbabwe are "slightly" improving in some areas stricken by cholera as international humanitarian relief efforts have an impact, a health activists said Thursday.

Executive Director Itayi Rusike of the Community Working Group on Health said, however, that the disease is cropping up in rural areas around the town of Chegutu in Mashonaland West province, after devastating the Chegutu Urban constituency. He said about three people a day in such rural areas were succumbing to the disease each day.

New cases were also being reported in Nyamhunga, a high-density suburb of Kariba, also in Mashonaland West on the country's northern border with Zambia.

But cases have tapered off in Budiriro, a high-density suburb of Harare, which was one of the areas hit first and hardest by the disease, following the mobilization of relief by the Red Cross and the United Nations Children's Fund, or UNICEF, among other organizations.

As of Wednesday the death toll from cholera had reached1,400 from some 21,000 cases, according to the World Health Organization, a key player in the relief effort.

Health activist Rusike told reporter Patience Rusere that gains against the disease must be consolidated by putting more permanent preventive measures in place.

Dr. Douglas Gwatidzo, chairman of the Zimbabwe Association of Doctors for human Rights, corroborated Rusike's assessment, saying cholera continues to spread because authorities have been more concerned with treating it than in preventing new cases.

More reports from VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe...