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Zimbabwe Public Funeral Gatherings Present Cholera Risk - Doctor

Public health experts say that authorities and Zimbabweans themselves must take care not to spread cholera when thousands gather for a memorial service on Tuesday honoring Susan Tsvangirai, the late wife of Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai, killed in a highway crash.

Many thousands are expected to converge on Glamis Arena, an outdoor venue in the Harare Showgrounds, and on Wednesday in Buhera, Manicaland province home town of both Morgan and Susan Tsvangirai, to bid farewell to the woman now called "the mother of the nation."

Susan Tsvangirayi was killed on Friday in a highway collision between the Toyota Land Cruiser in which she and her husband were traveling, and a truck which veered into their lane.

She is to be buried at her rural home in Buhera on Wednesday.

Dr. Douglas Gwatidzo, chairman of the Zimbabwe Association of Doctors for Human Rights and one of the doctors who treated Mr. Tsvangirai after the crash, said large gatherings like those planned for tomorrow and Wednesday present cholera infection risks.

He told reporter Marvellous Mhlanga-Nyahuye of VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe that those attending memorial services should abstain from shaking hands as is traditional on such occasions, and that organizers should carefully oversee food preparation.

In a cholera update through Sunday, the epidemic has claimed 4,011 lives since last August from more 89,000 cases, the World Health Organization said.

More reports from VOA’s Studio 7 For Zimbabwe…