A theory postulated by the Egyptian demographer Abdel Omran (b. 1925) in 1971 that visualizes several phases in the interactions of human populations with infectious disease agents. These include the “age of pestilence and famine,” the “age of receding pandemics,” and the “age of degenerative and manmade diseases,” three generalizations based on the history of epidemics in Western civilization during the past 1,000 years. While the theory more or less fits the observed facts in Western nations over much of this period, anomalies appear when observations from other parts of the world and a longer time period are included. A rapid transition occurred in some low-income countries and regions, with enlightened policies on empowerment of women and on family planning, notably in Sri Lanka, the Maldives, and Kerala state in India.
Subjects: Public Health and Epidemiology.