Tony Okafor, Awka
The governor of Anambra state, Chief Willie Obiano has said intending couples in the state who failed to screen for sickle cell disease before formalising their marriages would be punished.
He said such violators would be denied certain privileges from the state government.
Obiano said his government would partner 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.
He maintained that churches would play a major role in the fight against the spread of sickle cell disease because of their involvement in marriages.
The governor maintained 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 added that involving the churches would ensure strict compliance to the law.
The governor said the state government would set up sickle cell clinics in the three senatorial districts of the state with state- of- the- art facilities while explaining that people living with sickle cell disorder in the state would be treated free of-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 treating people free of-charge, the vulnerable, including people living with sickle cell disorder as our main target is to eradicate sickle cell anemia completely in this state and that is why we are urging everybody to know his/her genotype.”