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Zimbabwe Deaths From Cholera Off Sharply in Weekly Data, Says WHO

The World Health Organization offered some encouraging news on the cholera epidemic that has afflicted Zimbabwe since late last year: the number of cases and deaths have declined on a weekly basis, a trend attributed to an intense public cholera prevention campaign.

WHO Spokesman Paul Garwood said deaths from cholera declined 42% in the last week of February compared with the previous week. The cumulative death toll from the epidemic reached 4,011 as of Sunday from just over 89,000 cases since August 2008.

He attributed this to the massive public education campaigns waged by the government and by the many non-governmental organizations taking part in the anti-cholera drive.

But a recent WHO bulletin notes that the proportion of community deaths – i.e. those which are occurring outside hospitals, clinics and cholera treatment centers - remains "appalling" in Midlands, Mashonaland East and Manicaland provinces.

Despite the apparent progress in recent weeks, Garwood told reporter Patience Rusere of VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe that Zimbabweans should not lower their guard.

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