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Amid Seasonal Rains, Zimbabwe Names Task Force for Cholera Prevention


Health authorities have reported five deaths from some 120 cases in recent months, but a recurrence of last year’s major epidemic which claimed more than 4,200 lives fortunately does not seem to be shaping up

The government of Zimbabwe has established a task force to make sure that the devastating cholera epidemic of 2008-2009 does not revisit the country now that the annual rainy season is running full throttle, Harare sources said.

Health authorities have reported five deaths from some 120 cases so far. But a recurrence of last year’s major epidemic which claimed more than 4,200 lives from late 2008 to mid-2009 does not seem to be shaping up so far.

Deputy Prime Minister Arthur Mutambara, chairman of the inter-ministerial panel, told VOA Studio 7 reporter Sandra Nyaira about the preventive measures that his task force is putting in place building on steps already taken.

Elsewhere, a World Health Organization conference on immunization in sub-Saharan Africa was under way in Harare bringing together health experts to share information on vaccines and immunization levels across the continent.

Dr. Luis Gomes Sambo, WHO regional director, said tells that although infant mortality has been in decline in sub-Saharan Africa, the region accounted for 51% of under-five deaths globally in 2008. So there is considerable work to be done for Africa to meet the Millennium Development Goal of reducing under-five mortality by two-thirds by the year 2015.

Preventable diseases like measles remain a leading cause of death, Dr. Sambo said. But he noted that polio is down 99% since 1988.

Health Minister Henry Madzorera said the conference, which ends Thursday, will provide authorities in Harare with much useful information.

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