A university in Uganda has withdrawn a requirement for female nursing and obstetrics students to take a pregnancy test before taking their exams after facing adversity.
Kampala International University issued a notice on Tuesday stating, “This is to inform all female nurses and midwives that you are expected to attend KIU-TH for a pregnancy test at a fee of 5,000 UGX, paid to hospital bills.”
It added: “If you don’t do this, you will not sit in UNMEB (Uganda Nurses and Midwives Examinations Board) exams.”
The fee of 5,000 Ugandan Shillings is approximately $1.33.
Epidemiologist Catherine Kyobutungi, Executive Director of the African Population and Health Research Center (APHRC), shared a photo of the announcement on Twitter on Wednesday, writing: “This is total nonsense, discriminatory and unacceptable.”
She added: “Female Nursing and Midwifery students being asked to take a pregnancy test at their own expense as a condition of taking exams is nonsense!!!”
dr. Githinji Gitahi, CEO of non-profit Amref Health Africa, responded by tweeting: “What? Why? Really? Because pregnancy has to do with exams, right? The fetus gives unnecessary advantage in the exam? I’m so confused.”
Women’s rights organization FIDA Uganda posted a picture of a letter sent it to the private university and reminded the institution that Article 33(3) of the country’s 1995 Constitution “confers the protection of women and their rights, taking into account their unique status and natural maternal functions in society, and that this same article further prohibits discrimination against women and guarantees their full and equal dignity of the person with men.”
On Thursday, the university reversed its policy.
“With this we would like to inform you all that the internal memo on pregnancy and pregnancy testing dated November 8, 2022 has been withdrawn (withdrawn),” Professor Frank Kaharuza, deputy vice chancellor of the university’s Western Campus, wrote in a statement shared by the university. on Twitter.
“Please focus on preparing for your UNMEB exams. I wish you all the best in 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 stopped from taking their exams because they haven’t taken a pregnancy test.”
FIDA Uganda tweeted: “We are grateful for the cooperation of the Vice-Chancellor’s office and try to remind all scientific institutions that any attempt to control the bodies of students is a discriminatory action against the students and a violation of their physical autonomy. .”
CNN has contacted Kampala International University for comment.