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Controversy as IUIU enforces compulsory pregnancy tests for students

Kampala, (UG): The Islamic University in Uganda (IUIU) has issued a directive compelling every female student to be subjected to a compulsory pregnancy test for every new semester.

According to the University Memo dated September 16, the weeklong pregnancy tests for the ongoing semester are set to be conducted daily at the IUIU health centre effective Wednesday, September 20, 2023.

“The exercise is compulsory,” part of the memo highlighted in emphasis.

The policy upon its implementation yesterday was met with fear and panic among students with some already opting to do an abortion in fear of expulsion.

A section of female students at the IUIU Kibuli campus have already revealed how the policy was pushing them to extreme choices.

“Sometimes you use contraceptives, but they don’t work so you end up getting pregnant. The thought of being tested by the university sends a cold shiver down my spine,” said a student who preferred anonymity to this report due to sensitivity of the matter.

Another student speaking on the same condition said: “Because you do not want to disappoint your parents upon expulsion, abortion is the solution but living with the guilt is not a walk in the park.”

Activists intervene

Female activists led by the Uganda Association of Women Lawyers, (FIDA-Uganda) have already intervened in the matter and asked the university to halt the controversial policy as “it infringes the student’s right to education and their rights to privacy.”

“Enforcing the notice is an infringement on the student’s rights to education and ought to be revised. This is further an infringement on their rights to privacy as their consent is very important in issues regarding their reproductive health and body autonomy,” Ms Liliane Byarugaba, the Chief Executive Officer of FIDA-Uganda said in a letter addressed to the IUIU Administration on Wednesday.

“We further request that in the meantime, you allow the students to attend school without any of the proposed restrictions in your notice pending our proposed meeting,” she added.

According to FIDA, Article 33(3) of the Ugandan law grants protection of women and their rights, take into account their status and maternal functions in the society, and prohibits discrimination against women while it also guarantees their full and equal dignity of the person with men.

At the time of filing the story, the University was yet to respond to FIDA-Uganda’s point of view with the compulsory pregnancy tests already underway.

The Islamic University in Uganda (IUIU) is a multi-campus university offering courses at certificate, diploma, undergraduate and postgraduate levels. The main campus of the university is in Mbale, while it has branches (campuses) in Kampala, and Arua.

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