Vulnerability to episodes of extreme weather: Butajira, Ethiopia, 1998-1999
2009 (English)In: Global health action, ISSN 1654-9880, Vol. 2, 140-148 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
BACKGROUND: During 1999-2000, great parts of Ethiopia experienced a period of famine which was recognised internationally. The aim of this paper is to characterise the epidemiology of mortality of the period, making use of individual, longitudinal population-based data from the Butajira demographic surveillance site and rainfall data from a local site.
METHODS: Vital statistics and household data were routinely collected in a cluster sample of 10 sub-communities in the Butajira district in central Ethiopia. These were supplemented by rainfall and agricultural data from the national reporting systems.
RESULTS: Rainfall was high in 1998 and well below average in 1999 and 2000. In 1998, heavy rains continued from April into October, in 1999 the small rains failed and the big rains lasted into the harvesting period. For the years 1998-1999, the mortality rate was 24.5 per 1,000 person-years, compared with 10.2 in the remainder of the period 1997-2001. Mortality peaks reflect epidemics of malaria and diarrhoeal disease. During these peaks, mortality was significantly higher among the poorer.
CONCLUSIONS: The analyses reveal a serious humanitarian crisis with the Butajira population during 1998-1999, which met the CDC guideline crisis definition of more than one death per 10,000 per day. No substantial humanitarian relief efforts were triggered, though from the results it seems likely that the poorest in the farming communities are as vulnerable as the pastoralists in the North and East of Ethiopia. Food insecurity and reliance on subsistence agriculture continue to be major issues in this and similar rural communities. Epidemics of traditional infectious diseases can still be devastating, given opportunities in nutritionally challenged populations with little access to health care.
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Järfälla, Sweden: CoAction Publishing, 2009. Vol. 2, 140-148 p.
climate change, famine, mortality, demographic surveillance, epidemiology
Public Health, Global Health, Social Medicine and Epidemiology
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-30541DOI: 10.3402/gha.v1i0.1829ISI: 000208160000043PubMedID: 20052373OAI: oai:DiVA.org:umu-30541DiVA: diva2:284629