The governor of Anambra state, Chief Willie Obiano has stressed the need for intending couples in the state to screen for sickle cell disease before formalizing their marriages.
Obiano said violators would be punished and denied certain privileges from the state government.
Speaking through his commissioner for health, Dr. Joe Akabuike at a ceremony on Saturday to mark this year’s sickle cell day in Awka, the state capital, Obiano said his government would partner churches in the state to enforce the order, adding that it was part of the state government’s determination to eradicate sickle cell disease.
Obiano said his administration would implement to the latter 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 even as 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.
“Involving the churches would ensure strict compliance to the law. The state government would set up sickle cell clinics in the three senatorial districts of the state with state-of-the-art facilities and 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.
“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,” the governor added.