Draft bill on compulsory pre-marriage blood screening prepared: Minister

LAHORE: Punjab Minister for Specialized Healthcare & Medical Education Khawaja Salman Rafiq on Tuesday said that process of legislation on compulsory pre-marriage blood screening test of the couple for thalasemia had been started and a draft bill prepared.

He said that Punjab Thalasemia Prevention and Treatment Programme (PTPP) had prepared this bill in collaboration with the lawmakers.

The minister said that a consultative seminar would be organized in 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, he added.

He stated this while presiding over a meeting to review the performance of PTPP at Civil Secretariat, here. 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 attended the seminar.

Kh. Salman Rafiq said that though the Thalasemia was a very painful and fatal disease, however, prevention from this disease was very easy.

He said that generally this was a inherited disease, however, by adopting preventive measures one could save himself from this deadly disease.

The Minister said that there was a need to launch a comprehensive awareness campaign through print and electronic media so that people should start taking preventive measures while keeping its seriousness in their minds.

Dr. Shabnam Bashir said that without screening the disease could not be diagnosed and if the patient of thalasemia minor married, the child would be born with thalasemia major which needed fresh blood transfusion every month in whole life which was very painful and expensive procedure, also had side-effects due to that survival of thalasemia children was very

difficult.

She disclosed that many countries including Islamic countries had 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.