Reya Shah, DTMH September 2017
I came prepared to learn tropical medicine
But wait, what’s this “H” you’ve added in?
HIV is a killer: this I knew
But wait, what’s this; a whole week about poo?!
This topic distasteful: diarrhoea and slime
To talk about it in public is essentially a crime
Histolytica, shigella, crypto, giardiasis
Ascaris, trachoma, strongyloides, myiasis
Vomiting and constantly defaecating houseflies
Every five minutes, the lecturer cries!
But I don’t understand how they find the time
A stool a day and my life is sublime
Faecal samples zooming around the microscope
But be careful, because how would you cope
With contamination, some amoebic dysentery
Or worse, a cholera pandemic, which in Liverpool hasn’t been
For nearly 200 years, but whilst to us unseen
Continues to be a plague for the poor
The most vulnerable, displaced, the victims of war
How many of thousands of E.coli
In a community’s drinking water supply
Will we tolerate? But if that was us
And our children at risk, would there be more fuss?
To build a ventilation improved pit latrine
But please ensure that it’s not too pristine!
Or it may be prettier than the peoples’ own homes
They use the toilet as a bicycle shed and roam
To defaecate, and thus the cycle goes on
The water is dirty; the battle’s not won
Guinea worm, scabies and malaria
Yellow fever, Chagas and Filaria
All diseases abetted by filthy water
And the situation worsens as the world gets hotter
Reservoirs, transmissions and hosts
Control of these is what matters the most
So after this week, I’ve found hygiene’s place
Sanitation, safe water and disposal of waste
Is at the top of the ladder, alongside medicine
To create a healthier, happier world we aspire to live in