Bill to curb inherited blood disorders, birth defects tabled in Senate

662
Senate body for devising alternative strategy to counter Indian water blocking threats

ISLAMABAD, July 25 (APP): PML-N Senator Chaudhry Tanvir Khan on Monday tabled a landmark bill in the Senate to curb inherited blood disorders and birth defects.

The bill Premarital Blood Screening (Family Laws Amendment) Act, 2016 was moved on a private members day. Senate Chairman Mian Raza Rabbani referred to the standing committee concerned as proposed by the Law Minister Zahid Hamid.

The Law Minister said altough it was a good bill yet there were a lot of problems in it. Therefore, it should be referred to the committee for further deliberations, he added.

He said pre-marital blood screening was a specialized job, which needed specialized laboratories, specialized human and financial resources and, therefore, it should be sent to the committee concerned.

The bill is aimed at to bring amendment in family laws to control the spread of HIV/AIDS, thalassemia, hepatitis and other communicable diseases by making pre-marital blood screening mandatory.

According to the bill, under the amended family laws, which include Muslim Marriage, Christian Marriage and Divorce Act and Parsi Marriage Act, a couple would be bound to get their blood screened before marriage.

In Pakistan, 77 per cent of babies born with birth defects belong to parents who were in consanguineous marriages and such children have low rate of survival.

According to the Fatimid Foundation, an NGO working for treatment of thalassemia disease, around 8,000 babies are born every year with thalassemia major in Pakistan. Public health experts have also suggested thalassemia test to be made compulsory before marriage.

The bill intends to curb inherited blood disorders and birth defects by making a medical certificate and premarital blood screening tests mandatory before entering into contract of marriage for building a healthy and progressing Pakistani nation.