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Disease Vector Ecology Profile: Somalia. Fourth Edition

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The Somali Democratic Republic is located on the east coast of Africa. Shaped roughly like the numeral seven, this Texas-sized country at the apex of the Horn of Africa is bordered by the Gulf of Aden on the north, the Indian Ocean on the east and south, and Djibouti, Ethiopia and Kenya on the west. Except for rugged east-west mountains peaking at 7,900 feet in the extreme north, the topography mostly consists of low plains. The climate is continuously hot except for the far north, with spring and fall wet seasons that provide less than 20 inches of rain. Droughts are common and only two major rivers in the south have a permanent flow. The population of 6.9 million recent estimate is remarkably homogeneous, with Somalis accounting for 99 of the people. An additional one million ethnic Somalis live in neighboring countries. Somalia is an extremely poor country in which nomadic or seminomadic animal tenders constitute 60 of the population. This segment of the population lives in shelters made from portable mats. Additionally, 25 of the population are settled farmers who live in mud huts. Six hundred thousand Somalis live in the capital, Mogadishu. Four other cities have more than 50,000 residents Berbera 65K, Chisimayu 70K, Hargeysa 70K, and Merca 60K. Because of its harsh arid land, Somalia has been isolated from medical care and research. In 1961 there were no data available for Somalia on 22 of the 23 maps compiled by WHO on world distribution of diseases. Ten years later there were still no vital statistics, and information has remained sketchy up to the present. A high incidence of disease is aggravated by poor nutrition, a difficult environment, primitive water distribution and sanitation, and insufficient medical care. The lack of roads, coupled with a large nomadic population, which both spreads disease and is unavailable for medical attention, contributes to the problem.

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  • Medicine and Medical Research

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