KIU’s Internal Memo on Mandatory Pregnancy Test Irk MPs

Members of Parliament have slammed the management of Kampala International University (Ishaka Campus) in Bushenyi District over a memo issued to female students pursuing Nursing and Midwifery courses to undertake a mandatory pregnancy test.

The memo dated November 8, 2022 authored by the Dean of Students of the School of Nursing and Midwifery ordered all female midwives and nurses to undertake a compulsory pregnancy test at a cost of 5000 Shillings, and threatened to bar students found pregnant ‘from sitting’ for examinations.

The notice dismayed Sarah Opendi, the Tororo District Woman Representative who raised the matter during plenary sitting chaired by Speaker Anita Among on Thursday. Opendi described the directive as ‘discriminatory’ and asked the Ministry of Education and Sports to reign over it.

Speaker Among, however, questioned the authenticity of the memo arguing that it could have been ‘faked’ in order to soil the image of the University. She tasked the Ministry of Education and Sports to establish the authenticity of the document before a decision is taken by the House.

However, after being presented with the memo and letter rescinding the memo, Speaker lashed out at the University officials for the discriminatory memo and asked the Ministry of Education to rein over the higher institutions of learning to end the discrimination of female students.

Peter Ogwang, the State Minister for Sports confirmed the authenticity of the memo and said that as soon as the Ministry of Education got wind of the memo, it communicated with the University management to rescind its decision.

URN understands that Prof. Frank Kaharuza, the Deputy Vice Chancellor Kampala International University in a separate internal memo overturned the earlier letter issued by the Dean of Students of School of Nursing and Midwifery. “This is to inform you that the internal memo on pregnancy and pregnancy testing dated November 8th has been rescinded,” Prof. Kaharuza’s letter read.

However, during discussions held between the University administration and Women’s Pro Bono Initiative, a civil society group, the University’s memo is based on pregnancy guidelines issued by the Uganda National Midwifery Examination Board that requires the institutions to send the female students who fall pregnant for leave and only return six months after delivering.

The guidelines indicated that although pregnancy is a normal process and a gift from God, it is also a stressful period, and encouraged affected students to avoid getting pregnant before completing their programme study.

Further, the guidelines stipulated that students found pregnant should be reported to the University administration in order to be granted leave and be allowed to report back after six months, following delivery and breastfeeding the child.

Notably, the memo attracted sharp criticism among a section of concerned women rights activists who condemned it on the basis that it contravenes the constitutional rights to privacy and dignity.

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