This little book is about diseases and health services in the Somali Republic (Somalia) as observed by the author during six visits to the country, the last in September 1969.
Somalia occupies most of the so-called Horn of Africa, from French Somaliland to Kenya; Ethiopia lies to its west. The land lies isolated and sweltering along the Gulf of Aden in the north, and the Indian Ocean, a littoral of about 2,600 miles. In part, this is the biblical land of Cush from which has come for centuries the finest frankincense, the aromatic gum of Boswellia carteri.
Most of the land is arid or semidesert, with an annual rainfall of 3 inches in the north, about 20 inches in the south. There is a green strip of irrigated, cultivated lands in the south between, and on each side of, the Juba and Webi Shebeli rivers that come down from the Ethiopian highlands, and are the only considerable perennial streams.