UTI Seriously Affecting Primary School Girls
Many young girls in Nairobi’s public and private schools are suffering from urinary tract infections (UTIs), according to Wananchi Reporting.
The tragedy is that some children are too young to notice that they are carrying the infection, which then matures into an unpleasant burden they must bear on their young shoulders.
One parent told Wananchi Reporting that her eight-year-old daughter has been battling a persistent UTI infection that she picked up at school.
“She told me she was feeling some discomfort down there, some itchiness and some discharge. I was worried, and so I took her to the hospital immediately,” Dorothy Mutinda told Wananchi Reporting.
“I was relieved that it was only a UTI, but am worried that our young children could be suffering in silence without us knowing,” added Ms. Mutinda.
Julia, another parent with a Class Seven daughter, told Wananchi Reporting that she had to teach her daughters how to use public restrooms.
Julia said children are taught about early pregnancy, sex, and adolescence, but no one teaches them how to pee safely when they are out in school, church, or other public places where they must share toilets.
She says unintended pregnancy is a common problem among women and girls.
“My only worry as a parent is the fact that it does not choose, even a two-year-old can pick it,” Julia said, adding that she engages her daughters in UTI discussions on a regular basis, in addition to teaching them ways to stay safe.
According to Rachuonyo Sub-county Hospital nurse Huldah Adhanja, females are more susceptible to urinary tract infections.
She says the general anatomy of females puts them at a higher risk of picking UTIs.
Their urethra, unlike that of men, is shorter, making it easy for the bacteria to travel short distances and affect the urinary system.
She says the bacteria that cause UTIs can be found in public toilets, especially those where people sit because they aren’t always very clean.
Adhanja asked parents to talk to their children as early as possible, and explain to them in a language they can understand.
“Teach your children, the girls especially, how to wipe themselves, from front to back, and not vice versa to avoid infection,” she said.
Any part of the urinary system, including the kidneys, ureters, bladder, and urethra, can become infected with a urinary tract infection.
According to Nurse Huldah, the symptoms include frequent urination, painful urination, and side pain.