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Rise in Zimbabwe Child Mortality Tied to Economic Crisis, Deterioration of Services

Zimbabwe's child mortality rate has risen to 9.4% in 2009 from 8.2% in 2005, a period in which political crisis and economic decline resulted in diminished access to basic health services

Zimbabwe's Central Statistical Office and the United Nations Children’s Fund on Tuesday released a report showing the health impact of the country's long crisis - in particular a 15% rise in child mortality since 2005.

The survey found that the country's child mortality rate had risen from 8.2% in 2005 to 9.4% this year, an increase of 15%, as VOA Studio 7 correspondent Sylvia Manika reported from

Elsewhere, six suspected cases of cholera were reported in the Harare high-density suburb of Mabvuku, which has long had problems obtaining safe water, the state-controlled Herald newspaper quoted Health Minister Henry Madzorera as saying. Dr. Madzorera could not be reached for confirmation.

Dr. Madzorera told the newspaper that of 143 suspected cholera cases reported since September, 21 were confirmed as cholera.

The minister said the situation was under control. The country suffered a major cholera epidemic from late 2008 through the first half of this year in which some 4.200 people died of the disease out of more than 98,000 cases.

Executive Director Itayi Rusike of the Community Working Group on Health told VOA Studio 7 reporter Patience Rusere that the problems that led to last year's cholera epidemic have not been comprehensively addressed.