Despite all of the warnings and laws set by the government which have made it mandatory or compulsory for all of the couples to get screened or tested for any infectious or blood diseases as well as genetic diseases, several of the families choose to completely ignore the results of this premarital screening, and subsequently allow their sons and daughters to get married to infected partners. As a result of this such couples have marginally increased the likeliness that their offspring will be testing positive for diseases such as sickle cell anemia, thalasemia and a variety of other sexually transmitted diseases which may also include Chlamydia, HIV, hepatitis and gonorrhea.
The Ministry of Health in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has put great efforts in the education of the general public about the consequences or dangers of marrying any partner who has an infectious or hereditary disease. The Ministry of Health has conducted a study upon the number of such marriages in 2015 in comparison to those back in 2004 and have noticed a decrease which show that the efforts are making progress. However what is it which makes some families accept their children marrying unhealthy partners. Umm Reham who did not disclose her full name has stated that she married her daughter off to one of her relatives despite the fact that the relative had been living with several hereditary diseases.
She added that her daughter had married her cousin, who is the son of her paternal uncle. She states that she couldn’t have refused the offer due to the fact that her husband’s brother had stood by the family and helped them out a lot. Beside this, their son was crazy about her daughter. The only negative aspect to this was that he had come out positive for some of the hereditary diseases. Umm Reham states that she does not believe on these premarital tests and states that it is only Allah who knows whether the children will be born healthy or not. She has cited several examples of Saudi families who had gotten married having no hereditary or other sort of diseases, yet their children were born unhealthy.
Dr. Muhammad Saedi, the director of the Department for Combating Hereditary and Chronic diseases at the Ministry of Health has stated that the Ministry has already started upon a plan of action which is aimed to increase the awareness of this issue amongst the public. Dr. Muhammad Saedi has stated that the authorities are trying to explain to both women and men who are wanting to get married despite the test results coming out as positive, that the treatment for these hereditary diseases are costly and bring with them a huge financial and emotional strain on the family.
He adds that the Ministry of Health has also made it clear to the public that the rate of success for such operations or treatments for these types of diseases is below 50 percent.
Source: Saudi Gazette
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