The expected formation this week of a national unity government offers hope for some of a more energetic and focused attack on the cholera epidemic which has claimed some 3,400 lives in the past six months and gives little sign of running its course in the near term.

Executive Director Itayi Rusike of the Community Working Group On Health said that with a government in place including the opposition Movement for Democratic Change international donors are more likely to step up their contributions to the anti-cholera battle, which he said is now focusing on rural areas where the disease is spreading and claiming lives.

Many of those deaths - two out of three overall - are occurring outside treatment centers, suggesting people in more isolated areas are unable to transport their sick for care.

Areas of current concern include Gokwe North, in Midlands province, Chiredzi in Masvingo province, and Makonde in Mashonaland West province.

Rusike told reporter Marvellous Mhlanga-Nyahuye of VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe that the government must urgently address the crumbling water and sanitation systems to avoid many more infections and deaths from cholera.

More reports from VOA's Studio7 for Zimbabwe...