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The first section deals with epidemic diseases, the second with endemic diseases, and the final section with public health policies. Epidemics.


Epidemics And Public Health In Late Colonial Somaliland

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Jama Mohamed
Wake Forest University

The literature on empire and disease is extensive,1 but the issue has been so far ignored in Somali studies.2 In an earlier paper,3 I discussed the history of disease and empire in Somaliland during the early colonial period (1900-1939). This paper extends the argument for the late colonial period (1939-1960). Various diseases such as smallpox, measles, relapsing fever, tuberculosis, influenza, and venereal diseases swept through Somaliland in the late colonial period. The social context for the spread of the diseases was, first, the economic devastation caused by the various droughts in 1943, 1947-49, 1950, 1955, 1956, and 1959. Second, the migration of the drought victims across the frontiers, which often introduced the vector of the diseases into virgin territories. And third, the growth of the population of the towns as more and more rural paupers settled in the towns in search of a better and more secure life. The paper elaborates on how the migration of patterns of paupers, and the growth of the population of the towns led on the one hand to an increase in the incidence of the epidemic (in the rural areas) and endemic (in the towns) diseases. The paper is divided into three sections. The first section deals with epidemic diseases, the second with endemic diseases, and the final section with public health policies.

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