Various studies in the Arab countries indicate the spread of hereditary blood disorders that are considered as health and social problems heavily burden the families and the health sector. Everyone knows that the Ministry of Health pays great attention to everything that would improve and promote health services in our great country. In this context, the Ministry of Health established premarital screening units all over the Sultanate to test couples who are planning to marry from hereditary blood disorders
Premarital screening is defined as examining couples who are planning to get married in order to find out whether they are infected or carriers of some hereditary disorders and to provide them with options and alternatives that help them plan for a healthy family.
The screening is carried out in premarital screening units. These units are available in all Muscat Governorate’s health centers, hospitals, or health Centers, and other health centers in other governorates. Each unit consists of a doctor, a female nurse, and a female health worker who has been trained to provide the service of premarital screening.
- Limiting the spread of hereditary blood disorders in the Sultanate
- Promoting awareness, of the couples who are planning to get married, about the children’s possibility of suffering from hereditary blood disorders and thus give them the choice between not having children or not getting married
- Ensuring the continuity of marital life. It is noticeable that some couples with hereditary blood disorders and have children with the disorder end up with divorce because of the physical and psychological impact of these diseases on their lives.
- Sickle cell anemia
- Glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase disorder
The screening is not limited to those who have relatives affected with this disorder, but also to those who are planning to get married, whether they have affected relatives or not. In case that the result of the test is negative, does this mean that the person is free from any hereditary disorders?
These screenings are only for the three hereditary blood disorders that were mentioned above yet there are many hereditary disorders that are difficult to examine many of them because there is no analysis available. However, every person plans to get married should seek any suspected disorder inherited in the family to consult a doctor’s to check the possibility of transmitting this disorder to his new family.
The screening is carried out in the presence of the person to the unit and to come with the other couple is preferable. After that, the couples are given information about the available tests and their importance. Then they fill out the early screening form and a blood sample is taken and sent to the laboratory at Al-Nahda Hospital, the Royal Hospital, or Health centers in other governorates. Two weeks later, the person takes the results.
After conducting the screening, the results of the laboratory test are dealt with in strict confidence and medical counseling is given to the couples. It includes information of these disorders, their causes, importance, and how they are inherited, clarifying all possibilities for offspring and the risks on the children’s health, and proposing alternatives or possible solutions if the couples insist on the completion of the marriage without a suitable decision taken. After that, the couples have a card that shows the results of the laboratory test and brochures about these disorders as a reference if they want to know any other information about them. The only means to reduce these disorders is to prevent them before they happen that can be achieved only by raising awareness in the community to prevent hereditary blood disorders. Therefore, this is a call to action for those who are planning to get married. It is important to conduct a premarital screening for the future of your children and to enjoy living healthy families free from these disorders.