The House of Representatives has approved a compulsory genotype tests for intending couples as part of measures to prevent sickle cell disease.
The lawmakers at Thursday plenary unanimously adopted a motion moved by Umar Sarki, titled ‘Call on the Federal Ministry of Health to develop an efficient system for management of sickle cell disease in Nigeria’.
Moving the motion, Sarki said, “Archaeological and genetic findings have shown that sickle cell disease has been with Africans for the last 12,000 years, yet not much has been done in the continent to manage the scourge.
“Data from the Centre for Disease Control and Prevention has shown that Nigeria has the largest population of people with sickle cell disease in the world, with about 3.6 million patients and 150,000 babies out of the estimated 300,000 babies born into the world with the disease every year.
The house in its resolution passed that:
The House charged government registries, churches and mosques to with demand for the tests before joining persons as husband and wife.
Adopting the motion, the House called on the Federal Ministry of Health to introduce free 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 counseling service to patients with sickle cell disease, while asking it to “sensitize religious institutions and the 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 Health Care Services, Information, National Orientation, Ethics and Values, and Basic Education and Services to ensure implementation of the resolutions.