SWAT: Speakers here on Sunday urged individuals to perform a premarital thalassaemia test to prevent the spread of genetic disease in the region.
They spoke at a ceremony arranged in Swat by the Al-Fajar Foundation to mark the national day for the prevention of thalassaemia. The chief guest was Umar Farooq, chairman of the provincial zakat council, while Nusrat Iqbal, social welfare officer of the Swat district, Mohammad Ali, Amjad Hilal, Dr Imranuddin, Sar Zamin Khan, Mrs Shaheen and others were present.
‘Thalassaemia is a inherited disorder that may be passed by parents if they have mild thalassaemia. In Pakistan, the thalassaemia ratio is 5 to 7 percent, as 11,044,617 are carriers of thalassaemia and the total number of children affected is 2,761,154. Only by taking a simple measure of performing a pre-marriage test, can we minimise the sum, said Imranuddin, an expert in thalassemia.
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Nusrat Iqbal, District Social Welfare Officer, said thalassemia was on the rise in Pashtun society and intra-family marriages and economic constraints were the main causes. “We need to begin preventing ourselves by discouraging marriages between cousins,” she said.
Chief guest Umar Farooq, the event engineer, assured him of his full support and said it was the collective responsibility of society to play its role in preventing the spread of the disease. “We need to take practical steps to prevent thalassaemia, and our next meeting in the provincial zakat council will be at the top of the agenda,” he said, adding that he would motivate the elected PTI representatives to introduce pre-marriage thalassaemia test legislation.
Previously, Mohammad Ali, vice-president of the Al-Fajar Foundation, welcomed the guests and stated that the foundation was set up in 2004 to provide thalassaemia-affected children with blood transfusion facilities and other relevant activities.
Published in Dharti News, November 9th, 2020