The Present Status of Sanitary Engineering in the Tropics

John M. HendersonCommunicable Disease Center, Public Health Service, U. S. Department of Health, Education, and Welfare, Savannah, Georgia

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The term “sanitary engineering,” like “preventive medicine” and others which pertain to both scientific fields of activity and professional practice, may be employed either in a strictly professional sense or in a generic sense. As a determinant of the metes and bounds of this article, “sanitary engineering” is interpreted as encompassing both the professional and the generic aspects, without attempting to draw any fine lines of distinction between the problems, interests and activities of professional engineers on the one hand and non-engineers on the other. In the large, difficult and complex task of controlling the tropical environment in the interest of man's health and welfare, there is obvious room for contributions by many arts and skills. Appraisal of these problems and of their indicated solutions can only be confused by efforts to subdivide them into respective professional packages.

There is one important exception. Sanitation is thought of as a basic part of or within public health.