The Local Government Act of 1998 mandates Mzuzu City Council to provide and manage urban infrastructure and services such as: roads maintenance, provision of sewerage and drainage infrastructure, waste management, provision of health services, provision of education, and maintaining safety in the city. Provision of infrastructure and basic urban services in the city is insufficient due to lack of resources and capacity in the city council to support the provision of these services.The informal settlements are the worst affected, having little or no access to the basic urban services such as water and electricity.Infrastructure in the informal settlements, such as roads and hospitals, are also in poor condition. There is urgent need to address this situation.The formation of a Development Coordinating Committee (DCC) to coordinate and monitor the provision of infrastructure and basic urban services will help to improve the situation. The Development Coordinating Committee will have key stakeholders and service providers as members.
ESCOM (Electricity Supply Corporatin Of Malawi) supplies hydroelectric power to the city from hydroelectric power stations situated on the Shire river. About 37.5 percent of Mzuzu's residents rely on electricity for lighting and 9.3 percent rely on electricity for cooking purposes4. The electricity in Mzuzu is characterized by frequent power cuts and this affects production in commercial premises that heavily rely on electricity. There is also frequent power rationing because the demand for the electricity is higher than the supply. The informal settlements also lack access to electricity.
The Northern Region Water Board is responsible for water supply in the city. Water supply in Mzuzu is unevenly distributed. The informal settlements are the most affected having little or no access to water services. They rely on communal water points where the price of water is high and water supply is unreliable. About 13.4 percent of informal settlements' residents acquire their water from unprotected water sources, such as wells, rivers and streams. There is a water reticulation and upgrading project that is ongoing in the city that will help to improve the water supply system and develop additional source of water to supplement the current reservoir. Water demand has increased due to population growth. Therefore, alternative water sources need to be continuously explored in order to be prepared for future population growth. It is also important to have a Development Coordinating Committee in place to help monitor water service provision in the city.
Mzuzu has a Central Referral Hospital under the Ministry of Health opened in 2000. The number of beds is 322. In addition there is St. John?s Hospital with 215 beds and St. John?s Mental Hospital both belong to Mzuzu Catholic Diocese, and also Moyale Barracks Hospital which offers some services for the public.
The Mzuzu Health Centre operates under Mzimba North District Health Office. Police Health Facility is under Malawi Police Service. Lack of space at Mzuzu Health Centre is considered one of the biggest challenges for upgrading this institution to cater for a growing number of patients in a timely manner.
Various public and private clinics offer health services in different parts of the city, for example the Mzuzu Police Health Facility. Mzuzu City Council manages five outreach clinics in five Wards. There are also several health posts for basic services to the public.
In 2004 an SOS Orphanage was built in the city and now caters for a large number of orphans.
Part of the public health infrastructure in Mzuzu is the newly established Blood bank serving the Northern Region of Malawi.
Mzuzu City Council and Mzuzu central Hospital manages five outreach clinics at Zolozolo Clinic.
Public primary schools are free and the current teacherpupil ratio is 1:50. There are 43 primary schools with a total of 375 classrooms, 183 male and 617 female qualified teachers9. Data for private school enrollment is not available and the quality of education has not been assessed in most private schools. According to National Statistical Office (2008), the total enrolment in public primary schools was 39,837. About 49.6 percent of registered students in Mzuzu are males and the remaining 50.4 percent are females. The city has one public university, namelyMzuzu University, one public technical college, namely Mzuzu Technical College and several private tertiary and technical institutions.
Mzuzu City has two post offices namely Mzuzu Post Office and Luwinga Post Office; the former constructed in the 1970s, and the latter being commissioned on May 14, 1994. The current number of mail boxes serves the demand.
Services Rendered by Malawi Postal Corporation Limited include:
Private courier services have emerged in Mzuzu recently including Group Four Security (Pony Express), Times Courier, DHL, FedEx and Dot Net.
There are more than ten internet cafes in the City. Two are operated by Mzuzu University ("American Corner") and Malawi Postal Corporation. The other providers are private businesses. Malawi Telecommunications Limited commenced its fibre optic cable in 2010 which connects Mzuzu with Lilongwe and Blantyre. It serves the city centre, Kanig?ina, Chimaliro, Chiputula, Chibanja, and Katoto. There are several providers for wireless internet access.
There are some Internet Access Services include Broadband Wireless, Wi-Fi, Dongle on plans starting from as little as MK 3,500 a month.
The Integrated Housing Survey (IHS) 2004/2005 indicates that 8.1 percent of households in the city have access to land-line telephone services and that 20.6 percent have access to mobile phone services.
The Mobile cellular network is provided by Airtel and Telekom Networks Malawi (TNM). The IHS 2004/2005 indicates that 20.6% of the population have access to mobile phone services. Since then, the number of users has grown steadily. The government?s decision to remove tax on cell phones has contributed to the growth. There are no reliable figures on users available. Network coverage for the two providers is available in most parts of the city. There continues to be network technical problems. The phone operators are undertaking capital investments to improve service and accessibility, for example new antennas in Traditional Housing Areas.
Mzuzu residents can receive most radio stations in and outside the country. Some radio stations include the public broadcasters MBC Radio 1 & 2 with the highest market share; private stations such as Zodiac, Trans World, Joy Radio and Radio Maria. The Mzimba Community Radio and Radio Tigabane are among the local radio stations which enjoy high popularity. There is also reception of the BBC World Service in Mzuzu. In general radio reception is very good in Mzuzu City.
The two Malawian daily newspapers, The Nation and The Daily Times, are available in Mzuzu by late morning. There are also weekly newspapers available at supermarkets and from street vendors. These include Sunday Times, Nation on Sunday, Weekend Nation, Malawi News and The Guardian. Most media houses have branch offices in Mzuzu.
Mzuzu has good reception of Malawi Broadcasting Corporation (MBC) TV program. The public broadcaster operates a local studio at Kaning?ina. Other TV services are provided by Multichoice Malawi and GTV Malawi. There is no data on the actual number of TV consumers in Mzuzu. It is believed that the number of TV viewers is growing. Public viewing has become popular in Traditional Housing Areas.