At least seven children have died from a suspected diarrhoea outbreak which has affected over 6,000 children in two towns in Zimbabwe over the past week, a state newspaper said Sunday.
"Seven children died in Masvingo and Kadoma last week following a diarrhoea outbreak which has seen a total of 6,472 cases being recorded in the two towns," The Sunday Mail reported.
"The main problem has always been unclean water and poor sanitation," the newspaper quoted Portia Manangazira, director for disease control in the health ministry, as saying.
"Our main concern is that in most instances 60 percent of these cases are children under the age of five years."
She called on municipalities to ensure constant supplies of clean water and proper disposal of garbage.
Diarrhoea thrives in areas that do not have proper sanitation. Proper sewage systems and clean water can prevent its outbreak.
Municipalities in Zimbabwe are battling to supply residents with water with some suburbs going for weeks without running water.
Over 85,000 cases of cholera were diagnosed in West and central Africa this year, leading to 2,466 deaths, as the region faces the worst cholera epidemics in its history, UNICEF said this week.
Three years ago over 4,000 people died of cholera in Zimbabwe in an outbreak which affected nearly 100,000 people.
According to UNICEF, diarrhoea is responsible for 7.7 percent of deaths in Africa.