Typhoid Outbreak in Gweru City: An Exposition of Deficient Intergovernmental Relations

The Gweru Residents Forum notes with concern the outbreak of typhoid in some of areas of high density of Mkoba which has claimed over 9 lives so far and over 300 have received medical attention .In this context the outbreak has been experienced in areas of Mkoba 13, 15, 18, 19 and 20. Reports emanating from Gweru City town house points to the notion that the source of the Typhoid outbreak cannot be clearly pointed out. However some unconfirmed reports from the Town house suggest that there was contamination of one of the council pumped water pipes in Mkoba which mixed with raw sewerage and hence people drank that sewerage and the water which was now fed with excess chlorine which has led to the current state of affairs that we are currently grappling with in Gweru.

They are high expectations that in the typhoid crisis that we are currently experiencing there be a coordinated approach towards addressing the problem between Gweru City council(GCC), Ministry of Health and child welfare(MOHCW) ,technical partners ,residents’ associations and the communities. What we are witnessing now is the issue of finger pointing and blame game between the council and the government (Ministry of Health) which is worrisome considering the magnitude of the problem beforehand. The public service delivery infrastructure including water roads, sewerage and refuse collection that Gweru City council is using cannot cope with the urban housing expansion that has been witnessed over the last five years. Equally state land that have been parceled out by land hawks for expansion purposes without the involvement of Gweru City as land sale revenue has greatly contributed to the crisis .This has led to the failure by Gweru City Council to cope with the demand for public services because the resources to expand the service delivery infrastructure was not availed to the local authority .The GRF is of the conviction that there was need for central government to parcel out the land to Gweru City Council for proper planning and investment in public services infrastructure to avoid such challenges and to expand the public service infrastructure in line with the population and housing development within Gweru City.

The GRF urges the central government through the Ministry of Health and Child Welfare and Gweru City council and all stakeholders to find common ground and tackle the typhoid crisis head on and desists from accusations and counter accusations on the responsibility of the current situation that we find ourselves as residents. This should be done in line with the provisions in Part II, III, V, VI of the Public Health Act Chapter 15:09

The GRF reiterates the position of the general citizens of Gweru that:

  • No to prepaid water meters
  • No to arbitrary water disconnections by council employees
  • Increase public health awareness programs in partnership with residents associations in sensitizing the residents on the typhoid outbreak.
  • Improve public engagement forums to disseminate accurate information to residents rather than the speculation on vital health information that is currently being experienced.

Source: Gweru Residents Forum
Email: infogweruresidentsforum@gmail.com
Phone: +263 772 547394 / +263 772 771860