Salman for legislation to control thalassemia

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Staff Reporter

Punjab Minister for Specialized Healthcare & Medical Education (SH&ME) Kh. Salman Rafiq said on Wednesday that promotion of health education and pre-marital mandatory thalassemia test is inevitable to control thalassemia for which proper legislation is need of the hour.
Addressing a media workshop on Thalassemia arranged by Punjab Thalassemia Prevention and Control Programme (PTPC) here at FJMU, he said that Health Department has sent draft law to Law Department to start legislation process accordingly.
The minister added thta many countries like Greece, Maldives, Cyprus, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, and Iran either reached zero level in thalassemia cases or controlled it upto 90 percent through legislation.
PTPC Project Director PTPC Dr. Shabnum Bashir informed the participants that prenatal and other diagnostic tests were being carried out DNA laboratory. The lab, she added, not only analyses cases from across Pakistan but also from Afghanistan.
She said that birth thalassemia control was very important to check spread of thalassemia. She said that opportunities for higher education and training was being provided for doctors with the collaboration of UHS and FJMU.
She said that PTPC has conducted 84,655 tests of the family members. She informed that 536 major thalassemia cases of pregnant women had been detected.
Dr. Shabnum Bashir said that at present, 60,000 thalassemia cases had been registered in Pakistan and at least Rs 300,000 spent on each patient.
Though latest treatment and diagnostic facilities had increased the life expectation of thalassemia patient, these also increased the ratio of such patients.
She said that real target was to control birth thalassemia. She said that people do not have awareness about it and inter-marriages of miner thalassemia carriers and cousin marriages were increasing different genetic diseases including thalassemia.
Kh. Salman Rafiq directed that PTPC should forward recommendations along with the estimates about the future requirements for DNA lab, setting up centers at divisional headquarters so that it could be included in the ADP (Annual Development Programme) of the upcoming annual Punjab budget.
Pro-Vice Chancellor FJMU Prof. Amir Zaman Khan, Registrar Prof. Shareen Khawar, MS Sir Ganga Ram Hospital Dr. Nauman Matloob and the experts from UK Dr. Mushtaq and Dr. Shehnaz also participated in the workshop.

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