With an eight-month-old cholera epidemic slowing but far from extinguished, the government of Zimbabwe has called a summit on water Friday in Bulawayo to focus attention on delivery of clean water as the most critical component of a strategy to vanquish the disease.

The one-day summit will assemble officials of the five-week-old national unity government, civil society organizations, engineering companies, and international donors.

Public health experts say the restoration of water systems in cities, towns and rural areas is indispensable for halting the spread of cholera.

The World Health Organization said authorities had recorded a cumulative 91,265 cases since August 2008 resulting in the deaths of 4,030 people through Monday.

Health experts say recent weekly data have sketched a decelerating trend in the appearance of new cases - but 287 new cases and 11 more deaths were recorded March 16.

Spokesman Fambai Ngirande of the National Association of Non-Governmental Organizations said water contamination is the the root cause of the epidemic, therefore making clean water widely available to Zimbabwean households is the key to stopping it.

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