Health department prepares draft to curb thalassemia

Published: May 8, 2018
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LAHORE: The health department has prepared an amended draft of the Punjab Prevention and Control of Thalassemia Act 2018, said Punjab Minister of Specialised Healthcare and Medical Education Khawaja Salman Rafique on Monday.

The summary of the draft will first be sent to the chief minister for approval. After his approval, the drafted bill will be sent to the standing committee, he explained.

He expressed these views while presiding over a meeting regarding the Punjab Thalassemia Prevention and Control Programme (PTPC).

We need legislation and implementation to tackle this disease which is spreading among young children. Religious leaders and the community have to play an active role to ensure the implementation of laws, he stressed.

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PTPC Project Director Dr Shabnam Bashir said that in the draft, it had been put forth that testing males for the presence of the disease before marriage be made mandatory. If both the boy and the girl are thalassemia minor patients, their offspring will likely be thalassemia major, she elaborated.

This law has been successfully implemented in various other countries to control and eliminate the spread of the disease, she stated.

The bill also proposes that the marrying couple are asked for their thalassemia test results at the time of the nikkah, she said.

Specialised Healthcare and Medical Education Secretary Najam Ahmed Shah, PTPC deputy director Dr Azhar Jafferi, Institute of Blood Transfusion Zafar Iqbal and others were also present during the meeting.

Published in The Express Tribune, May 8th, 2018.

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