Thanks for bringing this issue up for discussion. I would like to talk about the Palestinian experience in tackling a disease which similar to the Sickle Cell Disease, Thalassemia.
In Palestine, marriage into relatives is common, hence at one point of time Thalassemia prevalence was high, this was before 10 years. An association with the name of the Thalassemia Association was formed to help in eradicating the prevalence, and to secure treatment for those who can not afford it. Focusing at the school children, mainly girls as well as their families through role play and education was one of the initiatives that they were doing, but unfortunately this does not work. This association is believing in the multidisciplinary approach in sorting out the problem. Hence, they drafted a law, examination before marriage, which was later approved by the Palestinian legal part. Simply it based on any two who want to marry, they need to do a test, if it approved that their children will be born without Thalassemia, the person who is responsible about tie the knot will carry on in the process, otherwise not. So it is not enough to have a law, it should be implemented tightly. After 10 years of implementation, the Thalassemia cases in Palestine are reaching to negligible level, at the time it was common.
Amira Shaheen, PhD
Assistant Prof. in Epidemiology
CHIFA Country Representative for Palestine
Division of Public Health
Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences
An Najah National University
Honorary Research Fellow
London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine
Keppel Street, London, WC1E 7HT, UK
Honorary Senior Research Associate
Please consider the environment before printing this email
CHIFA Profile: Amira Ali Shaheen is an Assistant Prof. in Epidemiology and Population Health at the An Najah National University, Nablus, OPT. She has an interest in Child Health and has worked on several research projects related to child health such as neonatal mortality, psychological morbidity, learning disabilities, and injuries. In 2009, she was awarded a PhD degree in Epidemiology and Population Health from the LSHTM. Her PhD research was to investigate the epidemiology of injury in Palestinian children. shaheenamira ATyahoo.co.uk She is a CHIFA Country Representative http://www.hifa.org/support/members/amira