Legislation for mandatory pre-marriage blood screening to control Thalasaemia soon

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Salim Ahmed

Punjab Minister for Specialized Healthcare & Medical Education Khawaja Salman Rafiq has said that process of legislation on compulsory pre-marriage blood screening test of the couple for thalasemia has been started and a draft bill has been prepared by the Punjab Thalasemia Prevention and Treatment Programme (PTPP) in collaboration of the law makers.
“A consultative seminar would also be organized next month to share the draft bill with all the stakeholders and to get their proposals on it. Religious scholars, members from civil society, medical professionals and other important personalities from different segments of the society would be invited in the seminar,” Salman said while presiding over a meeting to review the performance of PTPP, here Tuesday.
Besides, Secretary Specialized Healthcare & Medical Education Najam Ahmad Shah, Special Secretary Dr. Sajid Chohan, Project Director PTPP Dr. Shabnam Bashir, Deputy Secretary Health (Tech) Dr. Mohsin and the officers of Development Wind attended the seminar.
Khawaja Salman Rafiq maintained that though the Thalasemia is a very painful and fatal disease, however, prevention from this disease is very easy. Generally this is a inherited disease, however, by adopting preventive measures one can save himself from this deadly disease, he said, adding: “There is a need to launch a comprehensive awareness campaign so that people should start taking preventive measures while keeping its seriousness in their minds.”
Dr. Shabnam Bashir said that without screening, the disease cannot be diagnosed and if the patient of thalasemia minor got married, the child would be born with thalasemia major which needs fresh blood transfusion every month in whole life which is very painful and expensive procedure.
She disclosed that a number of countries including Islamic countries have made legislation for mandatory pre-marriage blood screen of the boy and the girl to control the disease and this experience was proved very successful.
Secretary Najam Ahmad Shah directed that a chapter on thalasemia prevention on the pattern of dengue should also be included in the syllabus of educational institutions. He directed that Board of Intermediate & Secondary Education should be approached for this purpose.

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