The Health Ministry will introduce legal provisions to forbid marriages between two Thalassemia carriers to eradicate the disease from Sri Lanka, Health Minister Maithripala Sirisena said.
Minister Sirisena said the ministry has taken measures to make blood tests mandatory for every young couple before marriage.
“If the blood tests do not bring the desired results, the Health Ministry has no option but to bring legislations forbidding marriages between two Thalassemia carriers as Thalassemia is a hereditary disease. Our aim is to eradicate Thalassemia from Sri Lanka by 2015,” Minister Sirisena stressed.
The government spends around Rs. 1.6 billion to treat Thalassemia patients annually and Rs. 350 million out of it is spent only on drugs. If Thalassemia which is a preventable disease could be eradicated, the government can utilize these funds for a better cause, he said.
Some 250,000 marriages are performed annually in Sri Lanka and offspring of 1,600 parents are born with Thalassemia. Latest data shows that there are 1,600 Thalassemia patients in the country and 160 of them are children. (Sandun A. Jayasekera)