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Premarital screening certificates can now be obtained from 25 centres of Ministry of Health.

Dubai: The Ministry of Health and Prevention has provided premarital screening certificates available at 25 of its health centres.

The service extended to both UAE citizens and residents will ensure a society that is disease free. People will have a genetic screening certificate issued after the test to indicate they are free of genetic, infectious or sexually transmitted diseases. The period required for the outcome of test varies from three to 10 working days, while reports are issued with a validity period of three months, said a health ministry official.

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Dr Aisha Suhail, Director of the Primary Health Care Department, pointed out that the health ministry has launched an updated guide to premarital screening. She said that the service includes highly confidential and accurate clinical and diagnostic testing within a certain period of time. Dr Suhail emphasised that the screening-related results are handled with the utmost confidentiality.

What the tests include?

The tests include the most important genetic anaemia diseases, such as beta-thalassaemia, haemoglobin differences, and sickle cell anaemia which is one of the most common hereditary haemolytic diseases, especially in the Middle East in particular due to consanguineous marriage.

Other tests include infectious diseases, such as AIDS, hepatitis (B) and (C) and syphilis, German measles in women, and CBC. A medical certificate will be issued upon the completion of the required tests.

How a premarital screening can help

Premarital testing decreases congenital anomalies and can prevent common inherited blood disorders, such as thalassaemia and sickle cell anaemia. It decreases and prevents the transmission of some sexually transmitted diseases and reduces mother-to-child transmissions of some infectious diseases that might lead to congenital anomalies or mental retardation, and sometimes to death. Moreover, it alleviates anxiety, especially if there is a family history of certain genetic diseases or marriage between relatives, as well as decreases the financial, physical, and psychological burden on families through proper diagnosis and counselling.

Mitigation of health and social burdens

Dr Hussein Abdel Rahman Al-Rand, Undersecretary of the Ministry’s Health Assistant Sector, Health Centres and Clinics, said: “The service is offered to citizens and residents of both sexes aged 18 and older, as part of the ministry’s innovative and comprehensive services to safeguard society from genetic and infectious diseases and mitigate financial and social burdens on the family, society, and health institutions.”

AlRand underlined that the UAE was one of the first countries that have paid great attention to building a healthy family and society, a step which was acknowledged by the World Health Organisation (WHO).