Zimbabwe struggles to contain spread of cholera outbreak

 Zimbabwe has been struggling to contain spread of cholera out­break, with the government an­nouncing measures amid fears of a repeat of its 2008 outbreak that sparked a “national emergency”.

Cholera cases span all 10 of Zimbabwe’s provinces, with the most alarming spikes in the south-eastern provinces of Masvingo and Manicaland, the epicentre of the crisis.

Cholera outbreak has killed more than 100 people and infect­ed 5,000 since February, accord­ing to government estimates.

To curb the spread, the gov­ernment has imposed restrictions in vulnerable areas, limiting funerals to 50 people and for­bidding attendees from shaking hands or serving food at the gatherings.

Authorities are also discour­aging people from frequenting open-air markets, unlicensed ven­dors, or outdoor church camps where sanitation is scarce.

Cholera, a water-borne disease caused by ingesting contaminat­ed food or water, often spreads quickly throughout Zimbabwe because of its poor sanitation infrastructure and limited clean water.

Many Zimbabweans, especially in remote villages, stay without tap water for months at a time, forcing them to draw from un­safe wells or rivers.

Raw sewage spilling from bust­ed pipes and heaps of lingering refuse increase the risk of the disease spreading.

Zimbabweans say their strug­gles to access clean water or water-purification supplies have recently intensified, putting them at greater risk of catching the disease.

“The cholera problem is not new. We’ve had it for a while but …There used to be health workers who would move around communities distributing water purification tablets that we could use to treat open wells.

That isn’t happening anymore,” Answer Nyamukondiwa, a resi­dent of Buhera, the hardest-hit city 250km (155 miles) away from the capital, told Al Jazeera TV.

Other residents lamented the deterioration of safe boreholes, which are narrow water wells that some 38 percent of the popula­tion relies on for water.

— Aljazeera