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February 8, 2017

Anti-thalassaemia bill passed by NA

National

February 8, 2017

Law to make obligatory for blood relatives
to be screened for the dreaded disease

ISLAMABAD: The National Assembly on Tuesday passed the much needed Compulsory Blood of the Relatives of Thalassaemia Patient Bill and the National Commission on the Status of Women (Amendment) Bill.

The Compulsory Blood of the Relatives of Thalassaemia Patient Bill, 2014 on which discussion in the concerned standing committee was going on for the last over two years, is aimed at taking concrete steps for controlling the spread of hazardous disease of Thalassaemia in the country.

The bill moved by Dr. Afzal Pechuho of Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) would be implemented in the federal capital on becoming Act of the Parliament. The also adopted some minor amendments in the legislation.

According to the bill, all clinics, hospital and centers handling and treating Thalassaemia patients would ensure that blood relatives of these children are all screened for Thalassaemia. “This test is to be made compulsory for siblings, first cousins and uncles and aunts who are blood relatives,” the law said.

In this regard, it is compulsory for those blood relatives of Thalassaemia patients who are getting married to get a pre-martial screening to ensure that they are not the Trait, a type of Thalassaemia.

The bill says that ante natal tests would be carried out on pregnant women who are known carriers and whose partner is also a carrier of trait. The prevalence of disease in Pakistan is 3.8% and the country is seeing a large increase in Thalassaemic patients due lack of screening and genetic counseling.

The details of the bill say that a recent study in Thalassaemia strongly suggests that due to consanguineous marriages, the genes of disease are trapped within the family. The families with a history of Thalassaemia have a high carrier rate of 30%.

The National Commission on the Status of Women (Amendment) bill, 2016 moved by Dr. Nighat Shakeel Khan and others is aimed at giving a time frame to the government to appoint chairperson of the commission.

“A vacancy of chairperson shall be filled as provided in this Act within 30 days of the occurrence of the vacancy,” the amendment said. Speaking on the occasion, Minister of State for Health Saira Afzal Tarar and Minister of State for Capital Administration (CAD) Dr. Tariq Fazal Chaudhry said that Islamabad had taken the lead in executing the historic legislation.

Dr. Tariq Fazal said the federal government fully supported the private member billof the PPP parliamentarian saying the provinces should follow suit. Two private members bills including the Compulsory Sewage Water Management and Reprocessing Bill, 2017 and the Federal Investigation Agency (Amendment) Bill, 2017 were also introduced in the House on last day of the session.

 

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