Health Minister of Punjab Dr Yasmin Rashid has announced that the bill on premarital thalassaemia test will be passed to prevent the spread of blood-borne disease among the newborns.
“The treatment of thalassaemia through Bone Marrow Transplant is very expensive but we have never paid due attention to this disease in the past,” she said at the inaugural ceremony of 15th National Thalassaemia Conference and Workshop at Fatima Jinnah Medical University on Saturday.
In another event organized by Al-Fajar Foundation to mark the national thalassaemia prevention day in Swat speakers urged the people to conduct thalassaemia test before marriage.
Chairman Provincial Zakat Council Engineer Omar Farooq was the chief guest while Swat district social welfare officer Nusrat Iqbal, social workers Mohammad Ali, Amjad Hilal, Dr Imranuddin, Sar Zamin Khan, Madam Shaheen and others were in attendance.
A thalassaemia expert, Dr Imranuddin said, “Thalassaemia is a genetic disease which can be transferred from parents if they are suffering from thalassaemia minor. The ratio of thalassaemia is 5 to 7 per cent in Pakistan as 11,044,617 are thalassaemia carriers and the total number of affected children is 2,761,154. We can minimise the number only by taking a simple measure of conducting a pre-marriage test.”
District social welfare officer Nusrat Iqbal was of the view that thalassaemia was on the rise in Pashtun society and the major causes were intra-family marriages and economic constraints. “We have to start the prevention from ourselves by discouraging cousin marriages,” she said.
It is the collective responsibility of the society to prevent this disease by playing different roles, said the Chief Guest of the event engineer Umar Farooq. He also assured his support in this regard.
“We have to take a practical step for the prevention of thalassaemia and it will be on top of the agenda of our next meeting in the provincial zakat council,” he said, adding that he would motivate the PTI elected representatives to introduce legislation over thalassaemia test before marriage.