The Child Enuresis Awareness and Education Program was founded by the Project HOPE (PH) Shanghai office April 2010 at Shanghai Children’s Medical Center (SCMC). The overall goal of the program is to improve the treatment and education of children suffering with enuresis in China. This August, PH held the Bedwetting Parents Group Therapy class for caretakers and parents on August 15th and the Small Dolphins Summer Camp on August 19th for children suffering with enuresis.
Recruitment for the classes occurs when parents and caretakers attend outpatient clinics. Incidentally, Jenny Xu informed me that on any given day, there may be 5,000 patients that go through the outpatient clinics. Wow, that is a startling statistic. The parents’ group therapy class was well attended, with over 50 parents and caretakers in attendance. The session is co-taught by a pediatrician who specializes in endocrinology and urology and a social worker. These experts discuss the physical things that are occurring in a child’s body that results in the underdevelopment of the bladder and consequently bedwetting episodes, and the psychological aspects of dealing with the disorder from parental anguish to the child’s embarrassment. The physician explain to the parents techniques to train the child’s bladder and also pharmaceutical products that can be used, if various other techniques alone do not produce the proper results. Most importantly, the pediatrician explain that it is a biological / medical problem the child has and should not be a source of anguish as there are proven methods to help the child develop better bladder control and enlarge their bladder.
The Small Dolphins summer camp is targeted to children between the ages of 4.5 – 14 years old. This year was the third year the camp was run, and Project HOPE solicited an army of volunteers ranging from a leading SCMC pediatrician and a social worker who conducted the training along with Jenny Xu and Tracy Huang from Project HOPE Shanghai, 10 pediatricians, and additional volunteers; one pediatrician per child. Project HOPE planned for 10 children, all recruited from the Bedwetting Parents Group Therapy class. What Project HOPE did not anticipate was that 19 children would show up for the camp. No need to panic, the 10 pediatricians worked with two children instead of one, and the many volunteers doubled up as well.
Why one pediatrician per child? This camp is intended to not only teach the children what is happening to their bodies and why they are wetting the bed, it is also to train the children’s bladder and enlarge them. Throughout the day the children drink lots of water and their parents along with the pediatricians encourage them to hold their wee. Each child should be able to consume 10cc per kg of their body weight, states the printed literature PH hands out to the parents and children. During the camp the children drank 3 – 10 (330 ml) bottles of water. When the child urinates, the urine is weighed and it is tracked on a chart on the wall for all to see. It doesn’t stop there, to make things interesting a healthy competition is created where the children compete against themselves to see how well they have progressed throughout the day and against the other campers. At the end, the children who have made significant progress receive prizes. At the end of the camp, all children receive a certificate.
During the camp, each child receives words of public praise from their parents or caretaker. This is very important, because many of these children may have only received criticism regarding their bedwetting. Why is this camp so important? Jenny Xu informed me that almost 50% of Chinese children suffer from bedwetting. This becomes quite significant in instances where children are in boarding schools and are sharing beds with other children. So, combatting this NCD is critical to childhood confidence and psychological development.
I had so much fun at this camp as I observed the children and parents receiving information about this NCD and watching the children having a fun time discussing their condition. They were in a space where they did not have to feel ashamed or hide their condition. Jenny and Tracy asked me to participate by teaching the children an English nursery rhyme that they could learn to sing. Since it was some time since I have actually worked at a summer camp and have sung a nursery rhyme, I reached out to my Pfizer Colleagues in the U.S. who have small children. These colleagues sent me some wonderful recommendations of songs to teach the children.
If You’re Happy and You Know It
The Hokey Pokey
Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star
The children learned: If You’re Happy and You Know it, The Hokey Pokey, and Twinkle Twinkle Little Star. When I gave the description of the Twinkle Twinkle Little Star song, one brave little girl burst out and started singing the song in Chinese, before I could finish. I was so impressed I gave her the microphone and said I don’t need to teach this song. But Jenny encouraged me to teach them as they did not know the song in English. Towards the end of the camp a group of little boys aged 8 – 10 approached me. One boy exclaimed something to me in Chinese that sounded like a compliment. I looked over to Tracy and said, “What did he say?” Tracy told me that he said I was beautiful. I then responded by kissing the boy on his cheek. All of little boys cheered and ran away. I giggled; in all cultures little boys behave exactly the same.