The Anambra State House of Assembly has passed a bill banning marriages involving people living with sickle cell anemia or couples with incompatible genotype.
The bill, sponsored by the member representing Anaocha II state constituency, Charles Ezeani and 15 others, seeks to eradicate sickle cell disease in the state by checkmating marriages among people with incompatible genotypes.
The law to be cited as Sickle Cell Disease Control and Eradication Repeal law, barred parents, guardians, traditional rulers or group of persons from giving out their children/wards in marriages without presentation of a certificate of verification by a qualified sickle cell expert of their genotypes.
It also provided that no religious body or marriage registry shall perform Holy Matrimony without first demanding and obtaining sickle cell disease prevention certificate from intending couples.
The law stated, “Anybody who contravenes the provisions of this section shall be guilty of an offence and is liable on conviction to a fine of N200,000 or imprisonment to a term of three years or both.”
The law when it becomes effective shall also put in place a monitoring committee to ensure compliance.
Speaking, the co-sponsor of the bill, Charles Ezeani, described the law as life-saving.
He said, “The development would put a stop to the notion that love is blind by ensuring that intending couples must present their genotype test before marriage.”
Ezeani commended the Speaker of the Assembly, Mrs Rita Maduagwu and other members of the Assembly for being the first to pass such health enhancement bill into law in the country.
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The National Coordinator of People Living with Sickle Cell Disease, APLSCD, Aisha Edwards, who was also at the assembly, thanked the lawmakers for enacting the law.
She said the law above other things bars all forms of discriminatory practices against carriers of the disease, both in employment and admission into schools.
Before now, a Professor of Haematology and President, Sickle Cell Hope Alive Foundation (SCHAF), Adeyinka Falusi said that about four million Nigerians are currently suffering from Sickle Cell Disease (SCD). Adeyinka who disclosed this at the Achievers Private University in Owo during its 7th matriculation lecture, also said over 40 million Nigerians have AS genotypes, while 66 to 72 per cent of the country’s population is AA.
She said the disease was one of the problematic issues facing the nation, blaming the federal government for poor sensitization exercise.
Falusi warned that the population of SCD patients would continue to rise as long as the 40million AS people continue to marry each other.
Do you think this genotype incompatibility law is necessary or it is discriminatory?
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This post was last modified on May 3, 2019 10:05 pm
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