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Lawyers force Ugandan university to cancel mandatory pregnancy tests

Lawyers force Ugandan university to cancel mandatory pregnancy tests
Illustration: Pregnancy test kits next to a half-empty shelf at a pharmacy in Annapolis...   -  
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JIM WATSON/AFP or licensors


Kampala International University yesterday yielded to pressure from the female lawyers and rescinded its planned mandatory pregnancy tests for nurses and midwives.

The university had on November 8 ordered all female nurses and midwives to get a pregnancy test and vowed to block them from sitting for the Uganda Nurses and Midwifery Examinations if they failed to do the test, a situation that sparked mixed reactions in the public.

An internal document from the private university, obtained by AFP, required all nurses and student midwives to take a pregnancy test for 5,000 Ugandan shillings (US$1.30). "If you don't do it, you will not write the end-of-year exams", the text stated.

The controversy reached the National Assembly, with Speaker Anita Among calling the directive "very unfortunate". She pointed out that even younger students who were pregnant were allowed to take the exams.

MLA Sarah Opendi called on the National Assembly to check that no other schools had issued such a directive. "This is complete rubbish, discriminatory and unacceptable," said women's rights activist Catherine Kyobutungi on Twitter.

Frank Kaharuza Mugisha, one of the heads of the campus where the nursing and midwifery schools are located, later rescinded the directive but did not explain why it had been taken.

"Concentrate on preparing for your exams. I wish you all the best for the upcoming exams," he added in an internal note.

Kampala International University is a not-for-profit institution established in 2001 and has more than 12,000 students from across Africa with campuses in Uganda, Tanzania and Kenya, according to its website.

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