KARACHI: Governor Sindh Dr Ishratul Ibad Khan Wednesday promulgated the Sindh Prevention and Control of Thalassemia Ordinance, 2013 at a ceremony held at the Governor House in Karachi on International Thalassemia Day.

This was stated by Mehmood Yusuf Mandviwalla, Minister of Law in Sindh, who also said the ordinance will prevent the spread of the dangerous disease in a large number of children. This is the first time in Pakistan that such a law has been promulgated.

Thalassemia is a disease caused by the weakening and destruction of red blood cells and can be the cause of significant complications, including pneumonia, iron overload, bone deformities and cardiovascular illness.

Mandviwalla further stated that there was an urgent need to regulate and control the thalassemia disease to save precious lives of children and hence it was considered expedient to promulgate the ordinance.

The ordinance also requires that proper care is taken of patients who have fallen victim of the disease. According to the legislation, a box pertaining to thalassemia screening test will be included in Nikkah Nama (marriage document). Thalassemia is rapidly spreading in Pakistan due to lack of awareness and the pre-marriage blood test can be one of the preventive measures.

The ordinance will help introduce programmes with information to the public concerning the nature of the disease, its consequences to the child and the methods of prevention especially the need to know of the risk early.

The law minister further said the law will also help in screening the population through simple blood tests, to identify the carriers.

Mandviwalla said the law requires the government to establish a thalassemia foundation. The foundation shall take all measures which it deems necessary for the promotion, development and financing of thalassemia centers across the province for the prevention and treatment of thalassemia and to ensure implementation of the provisions of this ordinance.

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