The World Bank in Zimbabwe is piloting a new project aimed at averting another cholera crisis like the massive outbreak the country experienced in 2008. Called the Beitbridge Emergency Water Supply and Sanitation Project, the project aims to improve water and sanitation infrastructure in Beitbridge, the largest inland port in Sub–Saharan Africa and also major land transit corridor.
New reports of cholera outbreaks in other parts of the country prove the disease remains a major threat. The cholera outbreak of 2008-2009 led to over 90,000 cases of cholera and more than 4,000 deaths. Beitbridge was especially hard hit by that epidemic, recording 26% of all cases. The World Bank estimates that this new $2.65 million project will help Beitbridge’s 40,000 residents and 2,000 people who travel through the town every day.
PHR documented in 2009 the connection between Zimbabwe’s cholera epidemic and the collapse of the country’s healthcare system. The report, Health in Ruins: A Man-Made Disaster in Zimbabwe, exposes the state’s failure to maintain safe water, sanitation, or a functioning health system. PHR continues to monitor the health and human rights situation in the country.