Ecology of Disease: Trypanosomiasis and Malaria in Metekel, Northwestern Ethiopia
Disease is one of the environmental factors that affected human settlement patterns as well as agricultural and livestock economies. Lowland parts of Metekel were highly infested with malaria and trypanosomiasis. Thus, the vast lowlands of Metekel remained uninhabited except some sparsely populated Gumuz communities who were not plow agriculturalists or cattle herders. They were hoe cultivators because plow-oxen could not survive in the region due to the prevalence of trypanosomiasis. The Gumuz also had a traditional system of treating malaria in addition to their natural resistance developed due to long years of their dwelling in the region. Highlanders’ settlement in the lowland parts of the region and government intervention to control the problems of Malaria and trypanosomiasis were recent developments. The Imperial regime attempted to eradicate Malaria beginning from the early 1960s but it failed. Thus, efforts of eradication turned to control program. However, Malaria remained number one killer of people in the region. The Problem of trypanosomiasis was also deep-rooted in the region of Metekel. Efforts to control the problem of trypanosomiasis began in the region during the Derg period In line with the implementation of the 1985/6 conventional settlement program. To organize this paper, the researcher used primary and secondary documents. Furthermore, the researcher collected oral Sources from districts of Metekel during my fieldwork. These sources were cross-checked and critically analyzed to organize the paper.