Muscat, The Ministry of Health (MOH),
represented by the Woman and Child Health Department, today
launched the National Campaign for Hereditary Blood Diseases (HBD)
Detection under the auspices of Dr. Ahmed bin Mohammed al-Sa’eedi,
Minister of Health.
The event is marking the untiring efforts taken to promote the
detection program for the HBD in all the Sultanate’s health institutions
particularly the primary healthcare institutions with the aim of
preventing the prevalence of HBD among the Omani community and
reducing rates of child mortality due to these diseases.
The inaugural address, delivered by Dr. Sa’eed al-Lamki, Director
General of Primary Health Care, reviewed studies of the HBD, which
were prepared by specialists underling rates of thalassemia and sickle
cell anemia in the Sultanate.
Dr. al-Lamki stated that despite the development of the health
system in the Sultanate, the percentage of children born with genetic
diseases and congenital malformations is still very high at 7%. The
percentage of people with sickle cell anemia is 0.3% and those with
thalassemia are 0.08%. The current numbers in the Sultanate are
estimated to be 6,000 with sickle cell anemia and 2,000 with
He emphasized that the Ministry as a result has adopted
premarital examination and genetic counselling program as one of
preventive measures that limit the spread of genetic diseases where
the program was included in the MOH’s 7th, 8th, and 9th Five-year
Dr. al-Lamki highlighted that the MOH seeks, in collaboration with
the Ministry of Education, to expand the HBD medical check-ups
intended for individuals entering marriage to include further eleventh
grade students in the Sultanate’s schools. Students shall be examined
at the primary healthcare institutions in coordination with the schools’
administrations making sure that the student must carry out checkups
before moving to the 12th grade.
He stressed that the students whose results come up as a
carrier of the disease will be transferred to a geneticist with his/her
guardian to receive counselling. They will be informed about the
significance of the result, and directed them to consider it when
deciding to marry in the future since these diseases are transmitted
genetically to children if the other party is also a carrier of the gene.
Professor Salam al-Kindi, Hematologist at the Sultan Qaboos
University Hospital (SQUH), elaborated further on the burden resulting
from the HBD on individual, family, and community and suggested
some of preventive procedures.
Moreover, Dr. Fatima al-Hinai, Director of Woman and Child
Health touched upon the working manual for health workers in the field
of premarital HBD detection that involved the Ministry’s policy, the
provided services, the medical examinations, and counselling.
Dr. al-Hinai pointed out that the department training plan
regarding HBD detection program, as well as the media plan are
aiming at raising community awareness on the importance of detection.
The service is available in most of the primary healthcare centers in the
Sultanate’s governorates. The plan also aims at promoting the
collaboration between various relevant sectors in order to combine
efforts and utilise the available resources to realise the best results in
mitigating the spread of genetic diseases.
The event highlighted the role of the National Youth Committee
in promoting premarital examination program by launching Youth and
Healthy Life project.
The program further included launching of the working manual
for healthcare providers on the field of HBD detection that contained
the Ministry’s policy, the provided service, the medical tests, and
At the end, the patron of the event and the attendees toured the
accompanying exhibition that displayed the department’s publications,
in addition to the most remarkable studies and surveys prepared in the
Sultanate on HBD and premarital screening.
Source: Oman News Agency