Francis Xavier Sosu, lawyer for Cecilia Awuni, a student of the Gushegu Midwifery Training School in the Northern Region who was sacked from sitting for a paper at the school for being pregnant, has hinted that his client will sue the school and the Ministry of Health.
On Wednesday, 10 May, the Principal at the training school prevented Mrs Awuni from continuing with her examination because she was four months pregnant.
According to the husband of the victim, the Principal, Ms Rukaya Alhassan, refused to allow his wife to write the examination despite numerous pleas by him on the phone to that effect and irrespective of assurances by the student that she was fit for the exams.
However, the Nursing and Midwifery Council condemned the action of the Principal indicating that nothing in its statutes prevents a pregnant woman from sitting for a paper.
Even though the lawyer for Mrs Awuni welcomed the news that his client would be allowed to write the exams to complete her programme, he indicated that he will still pursue justice in court for her client because the practice of sacking pregnant students has been going on for a long time and must be stopped.
“We will head to court to settle the matter once and for all,” Mr Sosu stated.
According to him, the school has an old policy to sack pregnant students and that is why they continue to do so and “if the principals are not punished or made to face the full rigours of the law, they will continue to do so”.
He explained that the Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ) has ruled that denying such students will violate their rights, yet schools continue the practice.
“The issue is getting various institutions to respect the fundamental rights of women and it’s not really about the compensation we are seeking. This kind of discrimination against women in this day and age is completely unacceptable and if we don’t make a very strong case against it, we will be going nowhere,” he told Joy FM on Thursday, May 11 2017.