Reps okay compulsory genotype test for intending couples
The House of Representatives has okayed compulsory genotype tests for intending couples as part of measures to prevent sickle cell disease. The House charged the government registries, churches and mosques with demanding tests before joining persons as husband and wife. This is part of the resolutions passed by law makers at the plenary on Thursday, when they unanimously adopted a motion moved by Mr Umar Sarki, titled “Call on the Federal Ministry of Health to develop an efficient system for managing sickle cell disease in Nigeria’. Adopting the motion, the House called on the Federal Ministry of Health to introduce new and compulsory new born screening programme, which will include screening for sickle cell disease in all hospitals in Nigeria. The House also called on the Ministry to provide free treatment and counselling service to patients with sickle cell disease, while asking it to ‘sensitize religious institutions and judiciary to include results of genotype tests as one of the conditions for marriage.They also urged the Federal Ministry of Education to include sickle cell education in science subjects in all primary and secondary schools, while mandating the house committees on Healthcare Services,Information, Ethics and Values and Basic Education and Services to ensure implementation of the resolution. Meanwhile the House has called for the rehabilitation of the primary health care centres across Nigeria.