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The Pre-marital Examination in Oman

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The marriage is an important transitional event in a person’s life to build a family. In order for the family to be healthy, there must be a consensus for the couple in terms of health, social and others, which is known as a healthy marriage. A healthy marriage requires that the next two people to get married must undergo pre-marital screening to ensure a healthy life for their future children and live without anxiety and without health and psychological barriers.

The pre-marital examination is an analytical test for the blood of the people who are coming to marry to be able to identify the probability of pregnancy of the couple to the status of some genetic diseases of blood such as Thalassemia and sickle cell anemia (SCD). The duo knows the possible health consequences for their children in the future. Moreover, the importance of this examination required some countries such as Jordan, Kuwait, Egypt and the UAE to make this examination mandatory and legal.

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Unfortunately, our Omani society started this examination, but it did not make it legal. As a result, we see careless on the part of the next to marry in the examination. Therefore, a pre-marital screening in the Sultanate of Oman must be legal because of the influences that can be affected by the children, the family, and the community. Firstly, the prenuptial examination should be a law in Oman because of the consequences that may affect child health and their psychiatry. As relative marriage in Oman society is common, the new births babies may suffer from the genetic blood disease, for instance, SCD and Beta Thalassemia. UNFPA GCC and Word Health Organization (WHO) cooperate to study the premarital counselling takers in Oman between June 8 and 12 in 2014 in various parts of the country. Ultimately, they found that “Currently, premarital counselling is being underutilized. Only ten percent of couples make use of this service. The programme needs to be reshaped to attract the higher number of people.”

Consequently, the rate of blood disorders in the Omani population is still being high. According to the Oman ministry of health (MOH), about 120 children are born annually with SCD and 20 conditions with Beta Thalassemia. Moreover, because previous disorders are disorders that affect the immune system it may lead the patient to the infectious diseases such as Aids (HIV), Hepatitis B and Hepatitis C. Overall, because these diseases need continuous treatment, we see that children with genetic diseases spend most of their childhood in the hospital and this may deprive them of their freedom and their pleasure. Moving to another side, healthy children may psychologically be affected because of their sibling disorders. Sultan Qaboos University Medical Journal (SQUMJ) demonstrates that “healthy children may feel neglected by their parents as affected siblings receive greater care and attention or ill adults may not be able to fully fulfill their role as a caregiver or financial provider due to disease-related morbidity.”

In addition, according to journalists of the social science research magazine the Pre-marital screening in some countries also examines the couple’s style to help reduce the negative effects of difficulties arising with child abuse. Given that the couple may have been subjected to a harsh experience in their childhood that may prompt them to act violently towards their children. Moreover, the blood disorders have more than body affection in the individual patient because it may also affect the psychosocial and financial well-being of the patient’s family. The family could have affected psychosocially by feeling anxiety about their children who already infected and about their coming children. As a result, that leads the parents to take a decision to not have children again. Furthermore, according to Dr. Anna Rajab, consultant medical geneticist in Royal hospital, “A national survey showed that genetic blood disorders are common and that 10% of Omanis are gene carriers for SCD and 3% for Beta-thalassemia. Both conditions will lead to disability and death if left untreated and require life-long medical care.” and that may lead patient’s siblings and parents to live in afraid of losing the patient. In addition to psychosocial affection, the family may also be affected financially. The cure that provides for patient costs a lot of money so that patient’s family cannot afford it even with health government aid.

Therefore, the family will be forced to debt money especially families with limited or low income. Finally, not having prenuptial examination affects both children and family which will negatively affect the community. As a child is the basis of society and its future development, any impact that affects them will affect the community development. In addition, paying lots of country money in providing treatment for those patients is an example of the impacts on society from the financial side.

Despite services that Oman do for its public from making the premarital screening programme available in most Oman regions and for free, most Omanis still do not do that test plenty. “According to a survey by Al-Farsi et al. conducted on a section of the Omani population, 89.3% of adults were aware of the availability of premarital carrier screening in Oman; however, 30.5% were opposed to actually taking the test themselves, regardless of whether they were married or single” which indicate a high level of awareness among citizens about a prenuptial examination. Furthermore, According to Dr. Saeed Al Lamki, Director-General of Primary Health care, the MOH has included a prenuptial screening program in its 7th, 8th, and 9th five-year plans as a preventive plan to control blood disorders. Hopefully, the prenuptial examination could be law in the future as a plan for the development Oman health system.

In conclusion, pre-marital screening must be low in Sultanate to avoid the consequences that may affect negatively children, family, and community. Children could be affected by genetic blood diseases, infectious diseases and psychologically. Moreover, a family may affect from financially and psychological sides. Whereas community, that will hinder its evolutionary plans and it will pay hundreds of thousands of money for treatment and supplies. MOH current questionnaires and statistics puzzle out that there is a rise in the awareness of citizens and their acceptance of premarital examinations compared to 1999 in which the test was first launched. Therefore, Oman health system will be able to overcome the consequences of not having premarital counselling such as it will be able to control genetic blood disorders. all these developments will happen if Oman government makes the premarital counselling a law.

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