The Governor of Anambra State, Willie Obiano, has said intending couples in the state who fail to screen for sickle cell syndrome before formalising their marriages would be punished.
He said such violators would be denied certain privileges from the state government.
To ensure that intending couples go for the test, the governor stated that his administration would partner with churches in the state to enforce the order.
The governor, who spoke through his Commissioner for Health, Dr. Joe Akabuike, at a ceremony to mark this year’s Sickle Cell Day in Awka, said it was part of the state government’s determination to eradicate sickle cell disease.
Obiano noted that churches would play a major role in the fight against the medical condition because of their involvement when couples want to get married.
The governor added that his administration would implement to the letter the Sickle Cell law passed by the State House of Assembly in 2002, which made it mandatory for intending couples to verify their genotype before marriage.
He stated that involving the churches would ensure strict compliance to the law, adding that the state government would set up sickle cell clinics in the three senatorial districts of the state with state-of-the-art facilities.
Obiano explained that people living with sickle cell disorder in the state would be treated without charge under a health insurance scheme that would be launched in the state.
He said, “In the health insurance scheme, there is also a provision for free-of-charge medical treatment for the vulnerable, including people living with sickle cell disorder as our main target is to eradicate sickle cell anaemia completely in this state and that is why we are urging everybody to know his or her genotype.”