The Answer To Our Lecture Question “Do You Need To See A Doctor Or A Plumber?”
Plumbers are the most important front line health workers round the globe.
“Plumbers are the most important front line health workers round the globe”. Professor Mala Rao, Senior Clinical Fellow at Imperial College London and a Trustee of WaterAid UK, reminded those present of this important observation by the World Health Organisation and in doing so answered the question posed by her lecture “Good Morning, do you wish to see a doctor or a plumber?”.
Professor Rao, who is also a Plumbers’ Court Assistant, reminded us that safe drinking water and sewage disposal were well recognised essentials for healthy communities yet were sadly lacking in many parts of the world. Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) projects feature in many governmental and NGO programs but much work remains. It is up to everyone to promote WASH in whatever way possible. We were reminded that although emphasis is usually given to less well developed countries that the water situation in the UK has room for many improvements and that future planning to conserve our supplies is essential. (this was highlighted by the BBC in the days after the lecture.)
Prof Rao suggested four heading for consideration. A Stronger Voice Ensuring that WASH programs are strongly promoted nationally, internationally at both governmental and private levels. Funding Promote better investment in water and hygiene programs (The Plumbers’ Company charity supports the work of Village by Village in Ghana), Strengthening Systems Using and developing technology applicable to the areas of need, Building Capacity ensuring that the lack of institutional and human capacity across the water sector does not constrain progress particularly in least developed countries.
This year’s lecture both informed and challenged the audience while underlining the continuing importance of plumbing to the health of the population throughout the world.