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Genetic screening to cover 7,000 students


Date   :  13-03-2007

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Genetic screening to cover 7,000 students

About 7,000 secondary school students will be screened as part of the eighth genetic disease blood-screening programme, which began earlier this month.
The annual programme by the Ministry of Health, in cooperation with the Ministry of Education and the Bahrain Society for Hereditary Diseases, aims to combat hereditary blood diseases, the vice-president of the society, Dr Shaikha Al Arayyed, said yesterday.
She said students from 38 private and government schools were being targeted, taking the total screened over the years to 50,000.
She said screening expense was being borne by the society, but it had appealed to organisations and companies to sponsor the event.
"The campaign aims to help youngsters make the right decision when it comes to marriage. The Ministry of Health is also providing confidential pre-marital counselling for carriers of the disease."
She said children born with beta thalassaemia couldn't produce haemoglobin in the blood and required blood transfusion every month. "The only treatment is a bone-marrow transplant which can cost more than BD40,000. It is more appropriate if they are screened at an early age."
The tests involve collection of a five-millilitre blood sample from the student which is sent to the SMC for analysis. Students aged between 15 and 16, who are screened, will receive identity cards containing, among others, details about their blood group and whether they carry any of the diseases. The carriers constitute around 13 per cent of the student population in Bahrain, Dr Al Arayyed said.

bahrain tribune 2007