Student Nurse Fights Pregnancy-Induced Suspension

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By Mary Taruvinga

A STUDENT nurse who was suspended from participating in her training programme at United Bulawayo Hospitals (UBH)  due to pregnancy is challenging the decision in a move which, if successful, could be a watershed decision.
Through Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR), Sibongikosi Jacoline Dube, is asking for reinstatement citing discrimination.

Authorities at UBH on 17 May 2021, suspended Dube from participating in a nurse training programme after a pregnancy test conducted on her as a requirement of the programme returned a positive result.

ZLHR has since written to the hospital on her behalf.

In a letter written to UBH Chief Executive Officer, Narcisius Dzvanga, Jabulani Mhlanga of ZLHR protested against the discrimination and ill-treatment of the aspiring nurse.

“Mhlanga said Dube had advised him that on the day the pregnancy test was taken, a certain Ms. S Moyo had informed the group of nursing trainees of a “mix-up” in the test results conducted at a UBHlaboratory,” ZLHR wrote.

Mhlanga said after receiving the pregnancy results Dube conducted a self-test whose results were negative and she informed officials at UBH of this development.

Dube, Mhlanga said, also undertook further testing at Mpilo Central Hospital and the results were negative.

“But despite the outcome of the second set of the pregnancy test results and numerous engagements with some UBH officials as well as some officials from the Ministry of Health and Child Care, Dube has not been reinstated to continue with the nurse training programme,” complained the rights lawyers.

According to ZLHR, Mhlanga charged that the decision taken by UBH to keep Dube out of the training programme was grossly unreasonable and unfair and in violation of section 68 of the Constitution, which provides for the right to administrative justice and also in violation of section 3 of the Administrative Justice Act.The human rights lawyer said UBH’s policy is contrary to the national objectives of the Constitution in particular section 17 which provides that the State must promote the full participation of women in all spheres of Zimbabwean society on the basis of equality with men.

Furthermore, Mhlanga said section 56 of the Constitution affords women to enjoy the right to equal treatment including the right to equal opportunities in political, economic, cultural and social spheres and prohibits unfair treatment or discrimination on the grounds of

Mhlanga asked UBH to reinstate Dube to continue with the nurse training programme with immediate effect and also urgently align its
policy to the provisions of the Constitution.

The human rights lawyer said if UBH fails to respond favourably to Dube’s request, he will institute legal proceedings against the
state-run hospital to assert and protect her constitutionally enshrined rights. UBH is yet to respond to Mhlanga’s letter