Zimbabwe’s cholera outbreak prompts ban on Easter church assemblies


HARARE – In response to a surge in cholera cases, some of which have been fatal, the Zimbabwean government has prohibited all church leaders from hosting public gatherings during the Easter holidays at locations without running water. 

Zimbabwe enforces Easter ban for churches amid rising cholera cases
Information minister Jenfan Muswere

The Information Minister, Jenfan Muswere, announced on Tuesday that the acting Minister of Health and Child Care, Paul Mavima, had updated the Cabinet on the national cholera outbreak response. 

He revealed that the cumulative suspected cholera cases in Zimbabwe have risen to 29,144, up from the 27,182 suspected cases, 2,734 confirmed cases, and 26,482 recoveries recorded on March 5.

The government expressed concern that some churches, particularly Apostolic sects, continue to congregate in areas lacking safe water or sanitation facilities. 

President Emmerson Dambudzo Mnangagwa has since ordered the installation of solarized water facilities and boreholes to ensure the provision of safe water and sanitation at Karuyana Shrine and other sites.

With the Easter holidays approaching, the Cabinet has directed the Ministry of Health and Child Care to ramp up monitoring and supervision of all gatherings to curb the spread of cholera. 

It further mandated that no church gatherings should occur until church leaders install solar-powered boreholes or bush pump boreholes.

The Health Ministry is continuing to conduct integrated training in case management, surveillance, infection prevention and control, and social mobilisation for Midlands, Masvingo, Mashonaland Central, and Mashonaland West provinces. 

Known hotspots are being targeted with community awareness initiatives, the deployment of oral rehydration points, and the establishment of cholera treatment camps.

The ministry is also reportedly collaborating with the Apostolic Women Empowerment Trust to train interfaith leaders in Manicaland and Masvingo provinces, strengthening actions to address collaborative and collective initiatives in response to the cholera and polio outbreaks.

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