Cholera death toll in Zim passes 4 000 - UN report

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

New York - Zimbabwe's widespread cholera epidemic has now claimed over 4 000 lives since August, and almost 90 000 people have contracted the deadly disease, according to the latest United Nations report on the outbreak.

Some 2 151 new cases of cholera were identified last week, down from 8 000 per week at the at the start of the year, noted the joint UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) and World Health Organisation (WHO) report.

The latest report has calculated the total number of people who have contracted the disease at 89 018 and 4 011 dead.

However, the fatality rate in treatment centres has fallen to 1.8 percent, a significant reduction from previous figures which exceeded 4 percent.

The drop in the death rate is a result of improved monitoring and response mechanisms instituted by the Ministry of Health in conjunction with international partners.

Over 90 percent of Zimbabwe's 62 districts are infected with the water-borne disease and more than 60 percent of deaths occur in rural areas where limited or no treatment is reaching the local population.

Humanitarian agencies are focusing on improving outreach to these rural areas in support of Government efforts.