shows mixed response to proposal
Sarawak Tribune - Wednesday, 4 December, 2002
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- A random survey conducted by Tribune yesterday revealed a mixed response
to Wanita Umno's plan to submit a proposal to the Islamic Council and
Registrar of Marriages to make screening for thalassaemia mandatory for
couple intending to get married.
president of Sarawak Thalassaemia Society, Johari Yaman, said he agreed
with the proposal.
couple intending to get married should have their blood tested so that
they would be more prepared to face the disease in case any one of them
might be a minor (carrier) of the disease," said Johari, adding that
public-awareness campaign should also be carried out as statistics showed
that 3 percent of the total population of Malaysia are carriers of the
pointed out that it would, be rather unfair for married couples to
discover the health condition of their partners later in life.
advised: "Those who are in love should also undergo health screening
on their own free will as it is always better to know the truth earlier
related his own experience in which he has bear more than RM1,000 per
month for the treatment of one of his children.
Catholic priest, Reverend Father Stephen Lim of Kenyalang Trinity Parish,
said the mandatory screening should be welcomed, pointing out that the
proposal however should include the advantages and disadvantages.
said: "I agree with the proposal in so far as there is a genuine
case, a couple wanting to know whether they are thalassaemic carrier on
not. Then they could have a choice whether to go on with their intention
to avoid thalassaemic babies."
there is a possibility that if one of the partners is a carrier of the
disease then he or she could be facing a fundamental moral question as
to what to do next, either leaving the partner or proceed with their plan?
he noted, adding that this is discriminatory and on top of that shame and
stigma could cause more harm than good.
to Lim, mandatory screening should be done not to jeopardise the
relationship of the couple but rather a free act and a sign of loving
kindness on both side.
all, if both partners are carriers they still could get married because if
they truly love each other, they could always go for adoption," he
reasoned. Reverend Hii Kong Ching of the Trinity Methodist Church pointed
out that screening could not be made compulsory, saying there was no proof
that the disease was rampart in the country.
should also look at the basic free will of couples intending to get
married. Let them decide what they want to do, either go for screening or
otherwise," he said.
honorary secretary of Sarawak Thalassaemia Society, Catherine Sia,
revealed that 72 patients were registered with the society.
should be more public awareness about the disease. It is always better to
know the truth than leaving things to fate," she advised, adding that
one of her children had successfully undergone a transplant in Italy
Umno Legal Affairs Bureau chairman Senator Dr Kamilia Ibrahim was reported
to have said that the Bureau would first study rules governing marriages
under the Svariah and Civil laws to see if the idea was feasible.
Kamilia added that awareness on the disease should be taught in marriage
courses and be included in the school curriculum.
a person is found to be positive, the couple should think carefully about
marrying, especially when both partners were found to be carrying the
gene," she said after giving away Hari Raya hampers and duit raya to
some 120 children at the Ipoh Hospital recently.
the word thalassemia is derived from two Greek words - Thalassa meaning
the sea and haima meaning blood. The word originated from a common
condition peculiar to the geographical area in the Mediterranean between
South Europe and North Africa.
is a genetic blood disorder in which the body is not able to make enough
normal hemoglobin and the life of red blood cells is much shorter (10 - 15
days) compared to the normal 120 days. This leads to gradual and
progressive anemia that does not respond to any type of conventional
treatment. The condition is diagnosed around the age of 8 to 10 months
when the child looks pale, weak and lethargic.