OPINION: If you’re safe from cholera, thank my dad, a plumber (and thank the ancient Romans). by Lindsay Denny, USA Today, March 11, 2019.
I come from a family of plumbers, and we’ve heard our share of plumber’s crack jokes. But there’s nothing funny about sanitation in public health.
My father once told me that plumbers were the original public health professionals. Growing up, I never gave the sentiment much thought. Mostly, I just heard a lot of plumber’s crack jokes as a kid, and our family’s vacation photos were punctuated with unique toilets my dad came across on our travels. That’s because plumbing is our family business — quite literally.
He and all of his brothers are plumbers, just like their father and uncle. Many of my cousins have worked for the family’s company at some point. Yet, even as I pursued a degree in global health, I never paused to consider the long-standing health impact of their work.
So I will never forget the look on my dad’s face when I told him that I had been hired to bring awareness to a newly recognized, massive gap in health care — the lack of clean water and sanitation, and by extension hygiene, inside tens of thousands of hospitals in developing countries.
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