What you need to know:
- Female students at the IUIU Kibuli campus told this publication that the policy was pushing them to extreme choices.
Every female student at Islamic University in Uganda (IUIU) will be subjected to a compulsory pregnancy test, a move that has triggered concern in the country.
The policy which became effective on Wednesday has aroused fear and panic amongst students with some reportedly opting got abortion in fear of expulsion.
A September 16 memo released by the university indicted that weeklong pregnancy tests for the ongoing semester were to be conducted daily at the IUIU health centre.
“The exercise is compulsory,” the memo highlighted.
Female students at the IUIU Kibuli campus told this publication that the policy was pushing theme to extreme choices.
“Sometimes you use contraceptives, but they don’t work so you end of getting pregnant. The thought of being tested by the university sends a cold shiver down my spine,” a student who preferred anonymity in fear of repercussions said.
Another student 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.”
Relatedly, the Uganda Association of Women Lawyers, also known as FIDA-Uganda, has asked the university to halt the controversial policy saying “it infringes the student’s right to education and their rights to privacy.”
“Enforcing the notice is an infringement on the students’ 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,” FIDA-Uganda chief executive officer Liliane Byarugaba Adriko wrote in a September 20 letter to IUIU authorities.
“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.
By press time on Thursday, IUIU was yet to respond to FIDA-Uganda’s point of view.
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, prohibits discrimination of women while it also guarantees their full and equal dignity of the person with men.
One in every two pregnancies in Uganda was found intended and 25 per cent of the women carried out abortions, according to a 2013 report titled “Incidence of induced abortion in Uganda 2013."