These are “mandatory for all residents and nationals planning to get married”, stressed Dr Farida Al Hosani, manager of Communicable Disease at the Health Authority — Abu Dhabi (HAAD).
The medical certificate, which is valid for three months, will need to be submitted to the Judicial Department.
The programme aims to screen for the most prevalent infectious diseases and genetic disorders and inform couples about their health to minimise the risks of transmission of infectious diseases and congenital anomalies to their children.
This will also decrease the financial, physical and psychological burden that comes with it.
From the start of the pre-marital screening programme by the HAAD in April until December 2011, 10,476 individuals were screened, 68 per cent of them being Emirati.
The results showed that although the majority (41 per cent) of them are in good health, many are overweight (35 per cent) and obese (19 per cent). The statistics also showed that 193 are beta thalassemia carriers and 118 people had sickle cell trait.
“This highlights the importance of tests before marriage to educate couples and instruct them according to the medical histories and families of both parties,” said Dr Al Hosani.
She added that the screening is an opportunity for couples to meet with a physician who can address any other health concerns before marriage. “The programme of premarital screening and counselling is not only to inform the public about their health situation, it also gives the authority the chance to improve people’s health and life. The programme has helped a lot in collecting good information about public health, which as a result will help in planning for better (community health) solutions,” said Dr Al Hosani.
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