WITH close help from the UN-Habitat, Tanzania is keen on tackling the already critical problems that are associated with overpopulation in unplanned settlements and slums in urban areas.
Quite monumental problems are notable in cities and municipalities. Vice-President Mohammed Gharib Bilal says that the envisaged "Urban Profiling Studies" project takes off with pilot schemes in Dar es Salaam, Morogoro and Coast regions. The project is tailored to pinpoint most affected areas and suggest solutions.
Unplanned settlements account for between 60 and 75 per cent of residents in urban centres, especially in major cities such as Dar es Salaam, Mbeya and Mwanza. It is these areas which are often difficult to govern or save lives when pandemics erupt.
The "Urban Profiling Studies" initiative seeks to determine how best to improve governance in slums, offer gender, HIV/AIDS and environment protection services. The scheme also envisages offering decent "shelter for all." It's a brilliant initiative, indeed.
In congested squatter areas, diseases associated with unsanitary conditions are endemic mainly among the poor, most of who live in filthy conditions with no clean piped water. Here, swarms of houseflies roam at will spreading diseases.
Unsanitary conditions are often the source of numerous fast killer diseases such as cholera, dysentery and typhoid which, invariably, erupt where communities do not have good pit latrines, toilets or lavatories. This situation also stretches State resources.
Unfortunately, one of the stickiest problems in slums is poor access to safe water and sanitation services. This sorry spectacle, coupled with poor hygiene practices, kills and sickens hundreds of children every day. It also leads to impoverishment and diminished opportunities for thousands of people.