Graduation Year


Document Type

Open Access Senior Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts



Reader 1

Mary Hatcher-Skeers

Reader 2

Bethany Caulkins

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© 2023 Michelle Muturi


Urinary Tract infections (UTIs) are microbial invasions of the urinary tract because of abnormal pathogen growth. They have short term symptoms like abdominal pain, fever and urinary frequency. Khayelitsha is a township that has a population of 2.4 million, 52% of which are women. This area is shaped by poor governance in South Africa that exacerbated medical issues due to a lack of resources. With lack of sanitary pad accessibility and knowledge of proper hygiene practices during the menstrual cycle, women are getting infected with UTIs 2-3 times a year. With an increase in antimicrobial resistance patterns, areas like Khayelistsha cannot properly treat UTIs in turn making the life of citizens difficult without accessibility to medicines and medical care. The purpose of this research is to highlight the factors that lead to increased UTIs in areas like Khayelitsha, where limited resources result in poor menstrual practices. I propose a short-term study that focuses on collecting baseline data for UTI diagnosis and treatment in Khayelitsha. It will involve 100,000 women and girls within the Khayelitsha Township area ranging from ages 13-45. I expect to see correlations between data such as, 1) financial stability and affording menstrual pads, 2) environmental hygiene and reported UTI/menstrual health issues. This study aims to not only inform the public on the importance of improving sanitary towel accessibility, but also act as a plea to the South African government to fund ESBL PCR testing kits aimed at aiding medical personnel in rapid testing of early UTI symptoms.