UTI outbreak in Mbarara schools shock parents

Fred Mwesigye, other stakeholders leading the team from district and minstry of health during the inspection of toilets and classrooms at Akarungu PS recently

Amos Tayebwa


Parents and stakeholders from Mbarara district are worried as young girls in primary schools suffer from Urinary Tract Infection (UTI) as a result of poor hygiene and sanitation in the local schools of Mbarara District.

Leaders and officials responsible for health issues in Mbarara district are accused of negligence and playing cheap politics in issues concerning public health services.

A few weeks ago, the issue of the UTI outbreak was detected in young girls at Akarungu Primary School in Rubindi Town Council, Kashari North in Mbarara district where about 33 girls indicated symptoms related to infection.

This concern was raised by Fred Mwesigye Rwamuhigi , a concerned citizen after learning about this crisis at the school that serves enrollment of more than 400 pupils.

In the recent stakeholders engagement and inspection that was held at Akarungu headed by Vallence Uragiwenimana, the Principal Environmental  Health Officer in the Ministry of Health and the District Officials, Mwesigye reported and mentioned how he got to learn about the outbreak of UTI related cases at the school.

He reported that after getting the information, as a stakeholder in that community he visited the school and collected data from some of the girls. He claims that he confirmed this information from the school’s metron.

Mwesigye told the meeting attended by the stakeholders and officials from the Ministry of Health and the district including the Ass. DHO that after confirming that there was an outbreak of infection in the school, he reported the matter to the relevant authorities at Mbarara district especially in the DHO’s office.

However, he alleged that his sanitation improvement appeal was ignored trashed and foiled by the district leaders and officials who dismissed the report as vague and propaganda.

He further told the meeting that when the district leadership refused to respond to the matter he approached some parents whose children were identified showing symptoms and three girls among the 33 were taken to Rubindi in a certain medical health center and confirmed that they were all affected with UTI.

He further noted that when the district undermined his idea, he immediately made a report of 13 pages to the Ministry of Education and Sports calling for the urgent government intervention and support towards health issues related to poor hygiene and sanitation as a result of collapsed / caved in toilet facilities at Akarurungu Primary School.

The Ministry of Education forwarded the letter to the Ministry of Health for action.

In his report he copied relevant offices but still up TO now nothing has been done by the district towards the matter unlike the recent response from the Ministry of Health by holding a stakeholders meeting.

During the meeting, Mwesigye accused the district leaders and officials of allegedly tarnishing his name that his interest in taking those girls for medical checkup was meant to sleep with them.

He claims that this statement was made by one Agnes Natamba, LC5 Councilor representing workers Mbarara District and a committee Chairperson for Social Services in one of the past meetings in the areas where this school is located.

Mwesigye revealed that he even opened a court case against Natamba for intending to tarnish his name.

He further accused District Health Officer for undermining and trashing his report that contained values that would solve the outbreak of infection in Akarungu P/S.

The headteacher Akarungu PS leading the team from ministry and Stakeholders inspecting the toilets of the teachers in the staff quarters

He also accused the District LC5 Chairman Didas Tabaro for spreading the bad gospel to the community that the public should not give Mwesigye attention because he is just a propagandist trying to destroy the school.

Mwesigye argued with the district leadership that they should stop the politics of sabotaging services and development to the community.

“I am not here to play cheap politics like I see in some District leaders in Mbarara. I had already identified the disease and the girls who had symptoms were there.

I suggested to the district that they should come and make tests for those girls before breaking off for the holidays so that we construct the toilet faster and before they return, those with infection could have recovered but the district failed to do that.

“I had wanted the district to give me a recommendation and permission to go and lobby resources for constructing toilets at this school. I told them to do a report about the health situation in the whole district so that we can lobby support from the ministry and other organisations but up to now nothing has ever been done, they are just fighting me as Mwesigye.

“My solution is one; I must fight for Akarungu until it achieves success. I still insist that let the girls at Akarungu P/S be tested,” said Mwesigye.

In the recent meeting, Mwesigye donated pairs of pads for girls, 145 pieces of ant-virginal wash including reading materials about health guidance among others.

Uragiwenimana, the Principal Environmental Health Officer in the Ministry of Health revealed that during the inspection the team realised that Akarungu P/S is struggling as far as health hygiene and sanitation is concerned.

He said that there is a lot to be done by the district and the government to save the pupils and the staff after finding that there was no separate pit latrine for teachers meaning that they are sharing with pupils which is not ideal.

“I urge the administration of both the district and Akarungu P/S to sit as we have agreed to put those things into action especially the temporary classrooms and the toilets which can cause different infections like UTI and jiggers especially from those ramshackled structures. Let the district start fundraising functions to ensure they get some resource to solve the challenges identified in this school,” said Uragiwenimana.




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