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Zimbabwe Cholera Outbreak Forces South Africa to Shut Down Border Post

FILE - Cholera patients drink treated water inside an admission ward at Budiriro Polyclinic in Harare, Zimbabwe.

South African authorities have reportedly sealed off the Sikwalakwala border post linking the country with Zimbabwe amid reports of a cholera outbreak in the south-eastern parts of Chiredzi, Masvingo province, and Beitbridge.

A regular caller on VOA Studio 7’s LiveTalk program, who normally identifies himself as Moshangani from Chigwedziba communal lands and is now based in South Africa, said that country allegedly shut down its border in order to protect its citizens from the disease.

He claimed that thousands of people, who are cross border traders and have relatives living across the border, are now unable to sell their goods in South Africa.

A villager from the same area expressed the same sentiments, saying the majority of people in Chiredzi and some parts of Beitbridge do not have ablution facilities, a situation that is worsening the spread of cholera.

The alleged closure of the Sikwalakwala/Malipati border post in could not be independently confirmed by Zimbabwean and South African officials.

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Reports of the outbreak of cholera in Chiredzi, Mudzi, Harare, Birchnough Bridge, Beitbridge and other areas have sparked fears of an outbreak reminiscent of that of 2008 in which about 4,000 people died.

Health expert Dr. Douglas Gwatidzo says there is no reason for fear as they are on top of the situation.

But parliamentary health committee chairperson, Ruth Labode, told VOA Studio 7 in an interview that she is not surprised by the reports of the outbreak, which she attributed to the country’s poor health delivery system.