Uganda University drops mandatory pregnancy tests after protests

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a university in Uganda withdrew the requirement that nursing and midwifery students take a pregnancy test before taking their exams, after facing a backlash.

Kampala International University issued a notice on Tuesday stating: “This is to inform all nurses and midwives that you must go to KIU-TH to take a pregnancy test at a fee of 5,000 UGX paid to the hospital account office.

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She added: “If you don’t, you won’t take the UNMEB (Uganda Nurses and Midwives Examination Board) exams.”

The fee for 5,000 Ugandan shillings is around US$1.33.

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Epidemiologist Catherine Kyobutungi, executive director of the African Center for Population and Health Research (APHRC), shared a photo of the warning on Twitter on Wednesday and wrote: “This is total bullshit, discriminatory and unacceptable”.

She added: “Nursing and midwifery students being asked to take a pregnancy test, at their own expense, as a precondition for the exams, is absurd!!!”

Githinji Gitahi, CEO of the nonprofit Amref Health Africa, responded by tweeting: “What? Because? Seriously? Why does pregnancy have anything to do with exams? Does the fetus give undue advantage in the examination? I’m so confused.”

Women’s rights organization FIDA Uganda posted a photo of a letter sent to the private university, reminding the institution that Article 33(3) of the country’s 1995 Constitution “grants protection to women and their rights, taking into account their unique status.” and natural functions in society and this same article also prohibits discrimination against women and guarantees their full and equal dignity as a person with men”.

On Thursday (10), the university reversed its policy.

“This is to inform everyone that the internal memorandum on pregnancy and pregnancy testing dated November 8, 2022 has been rescinded (withdrawn),” wrote Professor Frank Kaharuza, Vice Chancellor of the university’s West Campus, in a shared statement. by the university on Twitter.

“Please focus on preparing for your UNMEB exams. I wish them all the best in their upcoming exams,” he continued.

The university also responded to IFAD Uganda in an email, shared by the rights group on Twitter, confirming that “no student will be prevented from taking their exams because they have not taken a pregnancy test”.

IFAD Uganda tweeted: “We appreciate the cooperation of the Vice Chancellor’s office and seek to remind all academic institutions that any attempt to police student bodies represents discriminatory action against the student body and is a violation of their physical autonomy.”

THE CNN contacted Kampala International University for comment.

Source: CNN Brasil

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