ZLHR Fights for Reinstatement of Nurse Suspended Over Pregnancy

Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR) has asked United Bulawayo Hospitals (UBH) to reinstate a nurse who was suspended from a training programme after a pregnancy test returned a false positive result. Authorities at UBH on 17 May 2021, suspended Sibongikosi Jacoline Dube from participating in a nurse training programme after a pregnancy test conducted on her as a requirement of the programme reportedly returned a positive result.

In a letter written to UBH Chief Executive Officer Dr 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 UBH laboratory.

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. 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 the 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 pregnancy.

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.

Source: Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights

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