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HAAD: Premarital Screening Reduces Genetic Diseases and Promotes Healthier New Generations

3 Aug, 2015: Abu Dhabi: ** July 2015 – The Health Authority – Abu Dhabi (HAAD), the regulatory body of the healthcare sector at the Emirate of Abu Dhabi, has revealed that since the electronic database was set up, 56,226 people have had premarital screening tests in Abu Dhabi between April 2011 and December 2014 – with more than half of those screened being Emirati.

The premarital screening is mandatory for couples who plan to get married in the UAE; premarital screening is required before a couple can be issued a marriage certificate in the UAE. The screening includes tests for infectious diseases, such as HIV, Hepatitis B & C, syphilis, and genetic diseases such as Beta-thalassemia, sickle cell and other hemoglobinopathies. Other tests include checking for rubella, blood group and the Rhesus compatibility.

According to HAAD statistics, of the 16,247 applicants screened in 2014:
• 342 of those tested were found to be beta-thalassemia carriers,
• eight had sickle-cell anemia disease,
• 205 were sickle-cell anemia carriers,
• 36 had syphilis, and,
• 140 tested positive for hepatitis B.

The HAAD is guiding cases that have a history of genetic diseases to consultant specialists to provide advice on genetic diseases, which enables the concerned parties to decide whether or not to complete the marriage, a step which can have a significant impact in reducing the transmission of genetic diseases down future generations.

As per HAAD processes, in the case of one of the parties having a communicable disease, treatment is to be provided with follow-up by a specialist. The concerned party is to notify his/her potential spouse with the needed information to reduce transmission of the disease. In addition, HAAD will give vaccinations to prevent the disease, if necessary.

Dr. Farida Al Hosani, Manager of Communicable Disease Department at HAAD, said: “The Premarital Screening and Counseling Program is aimed at promoting and ensuring healthy reproductive opportunities for couples. We encourage couples with opportunities to meet with a physician who can address any health concerns before marriage.”

“Genetic diseases can be reduced in future generations by testing couple before marriage and providing them with the proper counselling ,” she added.

Additional services may be offered in the premarital screening centers - depending on each case - including offering the MMR vaccine for women who do not have immunity against rubella, or offering the hepatitis B vaccine for those who are at risk of getting the disease. The vaccination against the Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) – which helps protect females against cervical cancer - is also offered for those who are under 26 years old and have never received the HPV vaccine before.

Couples who intend to marry can visit one of the 14 healthcare facilities throughout Abu Dhabi (3 in Abu Dhabi, 4 in Eastern Region and 7 in Western Region) for screening. You can also visit the following website http://www.haad.ae/haad/tabid/1042/Default.aspx

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Last updated: 13 Apr 2024

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