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| 20 March, 2017

Saudi residents urged to take heed of premarital screening results

Image used for illustrative purpose. Bride Cristina Sosa waits in the hallway of the Empire State Building for her wedding to begin in New York February 14, 2008. Sosa and the groom Jason Arreguin were one of 13 couples from around the country that took part in a Valentine's wedding event at the Empire State Building.

Image used for illustrative purpose. Bride Cristina Sosa waits in the hallway of the Empire State Building for her wedding to begin in New York February 14, 2008. Sosa and the groom Jason Arreguin were one of 13 couples from around the country that took part in a Valentine's wedding event at the Empire State Building.

Reuters/Shannon Stapleton

20 March 2017
By FOUZIA KHAN

JEDDAH: Saudi Arabia residents have been urged to go for premarital screening tests and pay attention to the results and any recommendations made by doctors.

Despite a law that makes it mandatory for couples to get screened for genetic, infectious and blood diseases, many are said to ignore the results, with couples getting married regardless.

Dr. Zuhair Rahbeeni, chairman of the Saudi Society of Medical Genetics (SSMG), said such medical examinations are important, and said doctors should pay close attention to the results.

Failure to screen for potential genetic diseases can affect a couple’s married life and have negative effects on a child’s health, he added.

He said the lack of interest in doing the proper test and not paying attention to specialists’ recommendations before marriage can increase the prevalence of genetic diseases in Saudi Arabia.

Rahbeeni also pointed to the importance of the National Newborn Screening Program, which aims to screen all newborns in the Kingdom for genetic disorders, with early detection meaning many diseases can be treated sooner. He threw light on this subject during a workshop on genetic diseases held on Thursday.

Dr. Maha Gamal, an Egyptian national, agreed that it is important to go through premarital screening, in order to save future generations from genetic diseases.

There are 130 premarital test centers in the Kingdom.

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© Arab News 2017