Ugandan university drops mandatory pregnancy tests for female students after outcry


A Ugandan university has removed the requirement for female nursing and midwifery students to 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 are expected to come to KIU-TH for a pregnancy test for a fee of UGX 5,000 paid at the office hospital accounts.

He added, “If you don’t, you won’t be able to take the UNMEB (Uganda Nurses and Midwives Examinations Board) exams.”

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

Epidemiologist Catherine Kyobutungi, Executive Director of the African Population and Health Research Center (APHRC), shared a picture of the leaflet on Twitter on Wednesday and wrote, “This is total hogwash, discriminatory and unacceptable.”

She added: “Nursing and midwifery students being asked to take a pregnancy test, at their own expense, as a pre-requisite for exams, this is rush nonsense!!!”

Dr Githinji Gitahi, CEO of the non-profit organization Amref Health Africa, replied tweeting, “What? Why? Oh good? Because pregnancy has what to do with exams? The fetus gives an unfair advantage to the examination? I’m so confused.”

Women’s rights organization FIDA Uganda posted a photo of a letter he 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 their natural maternal functions in society and that this same article further prohibits discrimination against women and guarantees their full and equal human dignity with men.

Thursday, the university reconsidered its policy.

“This is to inform you all that the internal memo on pregnancy and pregnancy testing dated November 8, 2022 has been rescinded (withdrawn),” wrote Professor Frank Kaharuza, Deputy Vice Chancellor of West Campus of the University.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

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

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

FIDA Uganda tweeted: “We are grateful for the cooperation of the Vice Chancellor’s office and seek to remind all learned institutions that any attempt to control the student body represents discriminatory action against the student body and is a violation of their physical autonomy. .”

CNN has contacted Kampala International University for comment.

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