Health officials' perceptions of and preparedness for the impacts of climate variability on human health in the Somali region of Ethiopia

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


A proactive strategy to respond effectively to health impacts related to climate variability, particularly within vulnerable populations, is of vital importance. Such a strategy can be attained if health officials have a deep understanding of how climate variability affects human health and if the resources available for the health care sector are sufficient. This study assessed the perceptions and preparedness of health officials toward climate variability and health impacts in the Somali region of Ethiopia. The resources available for the health care sector were also assessed. The results show that approximately 80% of health officials were aware of the relationship between climate variability and human health impacts, but the majority of them were unable to project the future trend of related health problems in the region. The results also show an inadequate availability of health care resources, particularly in regards to infrastructure, numbers of health professionals, and training on climate variability and health. The results further revealed problems with poor living conditions, such as access to sanitation and safe water, for the majority of people in the study area. Climate variability is thus one of the many factors exacerbating the increasing trend of human health problems in the Somali region. Besides improving training to increase health officials' knowledge of climate variability and human health impacts, the government should also address other factors that currently hinder a successful response to increasing disease prevalence.


Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Infectious Medicine


  • Perception, Preparedness, Health professionals, Climate variability, Flood
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)585-596
JournalMitigation and Adaptation Strategies for Global Change
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 2011
Publication categoryResearch