Discussion held on proposed ‘Thalassaemia Bill’

Salim Ahmed

Punjab health department has opened discussion on proposed Thalassaemia Bill meant for prevention of this blood disease. Minister Health Dr. Yasmin Rashid chaired a meeting to consider various aspects of proposed bill, here today.
Eminent jurists, clerics, members of civil society and other stakeholders were also present during the meeting.
According to the draft bill all males residing in Punjab shall undergo testing for their Thalassemia status before marrying. “In case the male is diagnosed as Thalassemia minor the female (would be spouse) shall also be required for screening” said the Minister.
A couple having Thalassemia gene in one individual can get marry but if both spouses are Thalassemia career then they would be advised to conduct pre natal test during the initial stage of pregnancy to avoid birth of Thalassaemic child.
“Under the proposed bill Punjab Thalassemia Prevention Authority would be established which would ensure an effective system of genetic counselling and diagnostic facilities accessible to the people of Punjab and take such measures to encourage them to fully utilize it” said Dr. Yasmin Rashid.
The meeting was told that a Thalassemia Registry shall be established in which all Thalassemia major patients would be registered.
“Amendments in the current ‘Nikahnama’ is also proposed in the Draft Thalassemia Bill 2018” said the Minister. The draft also proposed punishment for marrying couples who fails to produce Thalassemia status certificate or falsify their status. Also fine is proposed for Nikah Khawan contravening the provisions of act. Dr. Yasmin Rashid stressed upon preventive measures said that many countries who adopted certain initiatives have been successful in overcoming the problem of Thalassemia. “Same measures would be introduced in Punjab to prevent next generations” pledged the Minister.
Meanwhile, Dr. Yasmin Rashid while delivering lecture on quality healthcare in a seminar conducted by Global Institute of Healthcare reiterated her resolve for provision of quality health facilities to all citizens. “Quality health facilities was responsibility of the government and right of the people” said that Minister.

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