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With Cholera Death Toll Near 800, Zimbabwe Seeks To Revive Hospitals

The death toll from the cholera epidemic that has swept Zimbabwe in recent weeks ticked up by just one fatality to 775 Tuesday from 774 the day before, the World Health Organization said on Wednesday, but a Red Cross official said the outbreak was still getting worse.

The total number of cases rose to 16,141 Tuesday from 15,219 as of late Monday.

The International Red Cross's water and sanitation delegate in Harare, Abel Augustino, said his organization is stepping up the provision of clean water and cholera treatment packs, and will mount a campaign to promote hygiene awareness in the country's ten provinces.

That cholera awareness campaign would be rolled out in the next two weeks, he said.

Augustino told reporter Patience Rusere of VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe that authorities must ensure public systems provide clean water if the epidemic is to be controlled.

Efforts to contain the cholera epidemic have been hobbled by the closure of the country's main hospitals following a walkout by doctors and nurses two months ago.

Correspondent Sylvia Manika reports that Health Minister David Parirenyatwa asked donors to fund payment of health staff in hard currency to get them back to work.

More reports from VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe...