LAHORE - Minister for Specialized Healthcare & Medical Education Kh Salman Rafiq has said that legislation for compulsory blood screening of thalassemia couples before marriage would be carried out after due consultation with all the stakeholders.

The process of legislation would be started after developing consensus on draft law already sent to the Law Department for consideration, Salman said while speaking at a workshop on Thalassemia arranged by Punjab Thalassemia Prevention and Control Program (PTPC) at Fatima Jinnah Medical University on Wednesday. FJMU Pro-Vice Chancellor Prof Amir Zaman Khan, Registrar Prof Shareen Khawar, Sir Ganga Ram Hospital MS Dr Nauman Matloob, PTPC Project Director Dr Shabnum Bashir and experts from UK Dr Mushtaq and Dr Shehnaz also participated in the workshop. Salman said that many countries including Greece, Maldives, Cyprus,  Turkey, Saudai Arabia and Iran either reached zero level in thalassemia cases or controlled it upto 90 per cent through legislation. He asked PTPC to submit recommendations along with the estimates about the future requirements for DNA lab, setting up centers at divisional headquarters for inclusion in the ADP for next fiscal year.

Dr Shabnum Bashir informed that the DNA laboratory was carrying out prenatal and other diagnostic tests of cases from other provinces and also from Afghanistan.

Dr Shabnum further said that PTPC has conducted 84,655 tests of the family members. She also informed that 536 major thalassemia cases of pregnant women have been detected. At present, 60,000 thalassemia cases have been registered. At least Rs300,000 are spent annually on each patient.

Separately, Minister for Specialised Healthcare and Medical Education Kh Salman Rafiq chaired a meeting of Cabinet Committee on Health Sector Reforms at Civil Secretariat.  

The committee agreed to give IPH the status of constituent college of UHS for the promotion of public health education and research work. The committee also approved creation of five new posts of professors for Institute of Ophthalmology, KEMU/Mayo Hospital.

The committee approved creation of 170 new posts of pharmacists for DHQ/THQ hospitals.