Pre-marriage blood tests

AS a result of increase in number of children affected with genetic or blood transmitted diseases, pre-marriage blood tests are considered very important these days. This is the reason that several Muslim countries have also adopted legislation making it compulsory upon couples planning to wed to undergo different kinds of blood tests to prevent births of children with any defects or disabilities.
Finally, realising the significance of pre-marriage tests for a healthy society, it is appreciable that our authorities have also started work towards this end. Addressing Thalassemia Conference in Peshawar the other day, Chief Minister Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Pervez Khattak expressed the commitment to initiate the process of legislation to make pre-marriage tests compulsory to prevent the disease of Thalassemia. Given the high number of hereditary and sexually transmittable diseases such as Thalassemia, HIV and AIDS, Hepatitis B, C such a protective step is indeed need of the hour to prevent and control communicable diseases in our society where families still prefer incestuous marriages due to different reasons without realising its impact on next generations. We hope the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa as well as other provincial governments will not only implement this initiative at the earliest through proper legislation but also make necessary arrangements to create greater awareness amongst masses about the importance of these tests for healthy marriage life. As responsibility of these tests will be entrusted to public sector hospitals, we will suggest that a mechanism should be developed where couples could undergo the tests without any hassle or greasing the palm of concerned officials. In case any tests being positive, doctors should provide proper counselling to couples. As initially our people will not be much inclined to medical tests, there is need to include strict provisions in the legislation such as Nikah should only be registered after the presentation of the medical report to the Registrar as is the case in most of the Muslim countries.

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