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American Journal of Public Health Research. 2019, 7(5), 171-181
DOI: 10.12691/ajphr-7-5-2
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Public Health Impacts of Famine in the Horn of Africa

Begna Dugassa1,

1The Oromo Studies Association, Mississauga, Canada

Pub. Date: October 06, 2019

Cite this paper:
Begna Dugassa. Public Health Impacts of Famine in the Horn of Africa. American Journal of Public Health Research. 2019; 7(5):171-181. doi: 10.12691/ajphr-7-5-2


Background: In the Horn of Africa, the oral stories and written records show that famine has been periodically occurring in the region. In their daily prayers, when the Oromo elders say, give us peace, preclude us from extreme war, poverty, famine, and epidemic diseases, they are stating their longtime wishes and hopes. By that, on the one hand, they are acknowledging that famine is a longstanding public health problem, on the other, they are teaching the young generation the need to prevent war, poverty, famine, and diseases. In this paper, following the footstep of the blessing of Oromo elders, I want to synthesize knowledge and explore the intermingled relationships between famine, poverty, war, and diseases. Objectives: The primary objective of this paper is to explore the primary, secondary, and tertiary effects of famine on population health. Methods: Using knowledge synthesis methods, I conduct a systemic review, contextualize, and integrate different findings and interpret the results. Results: The public health impacts of famine are multifold. It is responsible for several infectious and chronic diseases, nutritional deficiency disorders, instability, environmental degradation, and poverty. Those problems manifest in the short term and long term, in the first generation, second and third generations. Conclusion: In the Horn of Africa, famine is a major public health problem. The people need to learn from the past and envision the need for transformative leadership and institutions that enable them to guarantee food security and improve public health conditions.

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