Depiction of a lady who has a Urinary Tract Infection UTI

Poor access to reproductive services sparks UTI cases

(Last Updated On: 2 September 2022)

UTI cases are common in the young people, according to experts.

  • Urinary Tract Infection (UTI) is an infection in any part of the urinary system including the kidney, bladder or urethra. Or it’s when bacteria gets into your urine and travels up to your bladder.

By Isabella Olong

Lira – August 31, 2022: Inadequate knowledge among the youth in Lango sub-region is identified as a major contributor to fueling the spread of sexually transmitted diseases.

Sharon Acen, 28, said she got UTI four months ago after using a dirty bathroom.

“At first I thought it was malaria and I continued buying drugs from private clinics and treating it. The thing continued and it almost claimed the life of my unborn baby. when I visited the health facility, I was proven wrong and UTI was discovered,” Acen said.

Irene Victoria, 22, a student in Lira City revealed that her first Urinary Tract Infection (UTI) experience got her when she didn’t have any knowledge about it and described it as “complex and costly”.

“I was lucky enough to visit a government health facility after realizing lower abdominal pain, pursed discharge in urine, itchy private parts that happened as a result of bathing in the dirty shelter, and on seeking medical attention I was found with UTI.”

“I spent shs20,000 for my treatment and it’s hectic to complete the treatment because if you don’t have good hygiene it may start afresh,” she added.

Albino Olyec, 30, a resident of Odokomit said he was one of the victims of UTI, revealing that it causes a lot of pain. He said whether, for men’s urinary tract infections or females, there are effective home treatments to ease the pain while waiting for the antibiotic medication to take effect.

 “You can help to flush out bacteria by drinking plenty of water,” said Albino Olyec.

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Kaka Brian, 29, another resident of Odokomit said it is important to avoid drinking beverages that can cause frequent urination or aggravate the bladder, such as coffee, alcohol and caffeinated soft drinks.

Over-the-counter treatments for urinary tract infections may also be helpful, according to Kaka.

According to health experts, UTIs are more prevalent in young people especially women because of personal hygiene and behaviours. 

They have several signs and symptoms but are not limited to frequent urine, burning urine, and bad smelling /cloudy urine, among others.

 Dr Jimmy Ssewanyana, a medical officer and also the head of TB Services at Lira Regional Referral Hospital said urinary tract infection is more prevalent at a young age because of personal hygiene and behaviours.

Ssewanyana has urged the youth to change their behaviours of having multiple sexual partners to avoid being infected with urinary tract infections, among other sexually transmitted diseases.

“Most times, the bigger percentage that seeks our medical attention at the referral are female gendered because it affects them so fast as compared to male,” said Dr Ssewanyana.

Statistics from Lira Regional Referral hospital indicate that in the financial year 2021-2022, about 2,091 cases of Urinary Tract Infections were recorded. Dr Ssewanyana says the culprit organisms of UTIs are bacteria and fungi.

 “Men get infected with UTI through sexual intercourse while women through sexual intercourse alongside personal hygiene, inclusive of the menstrual cycle women go through it puts them at a risk of getting infections and pregnant women as a result of poor hygiene because they cannot support themselves,” Dr Ssewanyana explained.

“We need to change our behaviours of having multiple sexual partners, let’s be faithful to one another,” Dr Ssewanyana advised.

Dr Geoffrey Lapat, the Branch Manager In-charge of Reproductive health Uganda, Lira, said in 2021 they treated 3,700 clients (cases).  2,900 were women and 800 men.

In the same year, over 30,000 clients received various sexual reproductive health services in their office in Lira.

“UTI has become a burden to our community because many of the young people have not taken the initiative to prevent these infections,” said Dr Geoffrey Lapat.

Lapat said the key causes are unprotected sex, having many sexual partners, poor hygiene in sanitary facilities like bathrooms and toilets, and sharing sanitary items like towels, and basins, among others.

He also said the Health seeking behaviours of women is better compared to that of men yet most times men are the ones carrying this infection and later infect their spouses.

Lapat was so disappointed that most men only want to seek health facilities when they are badly off; he advised them to go for regular checkups after every 3-6 months to remain healthy and reproductive in various communities.

According to Dr Lapat, UTIs in men when not treated early blocks the tube that carries semen and makes them unable to produce it, they experience chronic back pain and pain while peeing.

 While women experience chronic pelvic pain and are not able to produce, too.

Moses Adoko, branch executive committee chairperson of Reproductive Health Uganda, Apac said the youth fear seeking sexual reproductive health services because they are not informed much about UTIs.

This, he said, the government and Non-governmental organisations have to step in to sensitize them.

As a measure to prevent a further surge in UTI cases, several health partners are focusing on community engagements like organising health camps where a greater number of people turn up to seek health services.

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