For nearly two decades, Ivy Pike, an associate professor of anthropology at the University of Arizona, has been studying ethnic groups in rural northern Kenya to understand how violence shapes the health of those eking out a living there.
The results of her and her colleagues' research," Documenting the health consequences of endemic warfare in three pastoralist communities of northern Kenya: A conceptual framework," is currently published in a special edition of Social Science and Medicine, in collaboration with the British medical journal the Lancet and the Journal of the Danish Medical Association.
These studies also set the stage for Global Response 2010, an international conference on violent conflict and health worldwide. The conference begins Jan. 22 in Copenhagen and is geared for humanitarian workers, physicians, political leaders and academicians working on violence and health.
Pike said their paper offers a "conceptual framework that lays out the importance of methods and approaches to document violence." While considerable research has documented social responses to the ongoing and chronic warfare among groups, there is much less data on how conflict affects community health.
Pike has been studying three nomadic communities the Pokot, Samburu and Turkana. Like other groups that live in northen Kenya, all are pastoralists, herding cattle, goats, sheep and camels between pasture and water. The region, about the size of Texas, has virtually no infrastructure. Literacy hovers at between 7 and 8 percent.
For hundreds of years, friction between these groups has centered largely on access to scarce grazing and water, and by livestock theft. Persistent drought over the last several years has raised tensions all the more, aggravated further by the introduction of firearms, especially automatic weapons in recent years.
Pike said that households she first studied in the early 1990s tha
|Contact: Ivy L. Pike|
University of Arizona