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Easter Church Gatherings Raise Concerns Amid Cholera Risks

Glendale Now a Cholera Hotspot Following 2 Deaths And 14 Cases

Many churches nationwide are gearing up for large Easter gatherings, with some apostolic sects expecting over 100,000 congregants. This has sparked concerns of a potential surge in cholera infections, as Zimbabwe battles its worst outbreak since 2008, recording over 29,144 cases and 300 deaths thus far.

The government has pledged to ramp up monitoring and supervision of these gatherings to curb the spread of cholera during the upcoming holiday. However, health experts worry that the sheer size of Easter church gatherings could exacerbate the situation.

Dr. Mlungisi Ndebele, a medical practitioner, warned, “The upcoming Easter holiday poses a significant risk of further transmission,” citing the ideal conditions for cholera spread in densely packed gatherings, especially in areas with inadequate sanitation.

Cholera, a severe diarrheal illness transmitted through contaminated food or water, can quickly lead to dehydration and death if untreated, particularly affecting vulnerable groups like children and the elderly.

Jabari Nguvu, director of Afya Yetu, emphasized the potential danger of large church gatherings becoming breeding grounds for cholera. He stressed the importance of stringent monitoring and adherence to hygiene standards to prevent transmission.

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During a post-Cabinet briefing, Information Minister Jenfan Muswere announced new requirements for church gatherings, including the installation of solar-powered boreholes and proper sanitation facilities, with clearance and supervision by health authorities mandated for all events.

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Despite these measures, some church leaders, like Council for Churches in Africa president Rocky Moyo, are proceeding with Easter gatherings, implementing interventions to mitigate the risk of cholera spread, including community engagement and health education.

Archbishop Andby Makururu of Johanne the Fifth of Africa urged churches to prioritize hygiene protocols during Easter services, emphasizing the provision of handwashing facilities and sanitation measures.

In Mashonaland Central province, church camps slated for Easter have been canceled due to the cholera outbreak, with services limited to three hours and monitored by health officials to ensure compliance with safety measures.

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