A multi-stake holder approach to addressing public problems: The case of the cholera epidemic in Mutare 2008 -2009
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The study examined the role of the multi-stakeholder approach in addressing public problems with special focus on the 2008-2009 Cholera epidemic in Mutare. This study hypothesized that ‘a multi-stakeholder approach is an effective mechanism in combating public health problems like cholera’.The literature reviewed revolved around issues of who is involved in multi-stakeholder engagements.The life cycle of the multi-stakeholder approach, and conceptualization of how public problems are addressed by a multi-stakeholder approach through policy cycle. The study made case references to Botswana and Mozambique bringing out the relevance of the multi-stakeholder approach in addressing public problems. The study adopted a qualitative research design in describing, explaining, and examining the multi-stakeholder approach in addressing public problems. The researcher used the purposive sampling technique in selecting key informants. Key informant interviews and documentary search were used in data collection. Content and thematic analyses were used in presenting and analyzing the research findings. The findings of the study revealed that the multi-stakeholder approach was an effective mechanism in combating the 2008-2009 cholera outbreak in Mutare. Various strategies were adopted by various players including coordination, the establishment of Cholera Treatment Centers, the donation of non-food items, environment management and Community Health Clubs, and public health education among others. The major challenges encountered by the various players in addressing public problems were financial constraints, lack of political will, and lack of co-ordination in some instances. The major conclusions of the study were that the 2008-2009 cholera epidemic was unprecedented in its gravity, multiple factors contributed to the cholera epidemic, Community Health Clubs were the most effective and efficient strategy in combating the cholera outbreak, the establishment of Cholera Treatment Centers was also vital in combating the Cholera outbreak. The study also proffered recommendations such as the need to establish an emergency plan response, the need for the introduction of awareness campaigns in public institutions, the need for health personnel to be well equipped, the need to strengthen the role of Community Health Clubs, the need for public health education, and lastly, the need to embrace the media in addressing public problems through the multi-stakeholder approach. Further research could focus on the assessment of the effectiveness of the multi-stakeholder approach in addressing public problems other than cholera. Attention could be shifted to emerging policy problems such as housing issues which seem to have gained agenda status as from 2015.