Insecticide-treated mosquito nets will soon be a compulsory bride price item for potential suitors in Sokoto state, according to a new law.
The unconfirmed new law will also require intending couples to undergo testing for sickle cell gene and enrol for a state community contributory health scheme to reduce the cost of medical treatment.
The law which will be sponsored by the state health ministry as a private bill before the Sokoto legislature will also make it compulsory for couples to undergo testing for HIV/AIDS and Hepatitis B, Daily Trust reports.
The Commissioner for Health in the state, Balarabe Kakale made this known during a ceremony marking the 2017 World Sickle Awareness Day, on Sunday, June 18, organised by the state Ministry of Health, in collaboration with an NGO, The Productive Youth Development Initiative.
Kakale said that the ministry would organise a seminar to be attended by medical experts, traditional and religious leaders, as well as other stakeholders on the issue.
However, the commissioner said the seminar to unify the position of the law, Isam, and culture on premarital testing will precede the law. He said the measures were meant to reduce the menace of the diseases in Sokoto state.
While stressing the need for people in the state to enrol under the contributory health scheme in order to reduce the cost of treating sickle cell and all its complications, Kakale said the scheme would take care of diseases like hepatitis B, HIV/AIDS, liver, kidney and heart-related diseases, as well as bone fractures caused by road traffic crashes.”
Also speaking at the event, Hajiya Mariya Tambuwal, wife of the state Governor who was represented by Dr Zainab Tori, pledged her support to the people living with sickle cell and other diseases.
The District Head of Gagi in Sokoto South Local Government Area, Alhaji Sani Umar, also urged the traditional and religious leaders to support the state government in reducing the diseases.
Umar stressed that more attention should be given to people in the rural areas in meeting their health needs, saying, ” the majority of our people who live in the rural areas are suffering from these diseases”.
According to the chairman of the Productive Youth Development Initiative, Dr Awwal Ahmed, the ceremony was to raise awareness on the disorder and the need for pre-marital counselling, screening and testing for genotypes.
The World Sickle Cell Day which was first celebrated on June 19, 2009, was established by the United Nations General Assembly in 2008 to increase awareness about the sickle cell disease and its cure among the common public.
Sickle Cell Disease (SCD), is a common hereditary blood disorder in which, the otherwise, round, red blood cells look like sickles. Red blood cells have a molecule called haemoglobin that gives the red blood cell its colour, and which carries oxygen throughout the body.
In a healthy person, haemoglobin is disc-shaped, smooth, and flexible, allowing the red blood cells to flow easily through the bloodstream. But in people with sickle cell disease, the haemoglobin proteins clump together and become shaped like rods, causing the red blood cells to become rigid and curved. These cells block the flow of blood, causing problems such as unexplained and sudden pain, swollen limbs, and poor vision among others.
Sickle anaemia and thalassaemia, among others, are the resultant disorders from SCD depending on which haemoglobin gene is abnormal in a person.