MOH News
 Respond to recommendations on medically incompatible marriag is slow, says Al-Omari
26 February 2007
The symposium of the impacts of healthy marriage on childhood health confirmed the importance of pre marriage checkup in establishing a community free of hereditary diseases. The meeting which discussed the social, religious, and health aspects of pre marriage checkup also recommended its application at the secondary school level, instead of waiting to the time of marriage, during which marriage cancellation becomes impossible due to sentimental, social, and family reasons.
According to Dr. Khalid Al-Zahrani, the MOH Assistant Undersecretary for Preventive Medicine, the three years experience of Saudi Arabia in this regard has revealed that about 4440 cases were found to be incompatible during the years 1425-1426H, but in spite of the medical advices that marriage should not be carried out, about 85% of the couples opted for marriage.
Dr. Ali Al-Omari, the General Manager of Non Infective Diseases said about 90% of incompatible couples opted for marriage in the first year of application of pre marriage checkup, whereas about 88% opted for marriage in the second year and 84% in the third year. The figures indicate slow response to the medical consultations made available by the Ministry of Health, a matter which on its turn indicates that the Ministry of Health needs about 10 years to lower the percentage to 50%.
He said the Minister of Health issued an order that the pre marriage checkup program must be revised for realizing better results in responding to hereditary consultations. Convening a conference on the matter, including all relative ministries and bodies, has been suggested. Also early checkups at the secondary school level has been recommended for improving the program results, especially in the high risk regions like the Eastern Province and some parts of the southern provinces. Fatwas explaining the religious opinion must be considered in high risk cases of incompatibility. Furthermore, awareness campaigns must be carried out for clarifying the situation to the public.
Dr. Al-Omari called all concerned bodies to contact the General Directorate of Non Infective Diseases during the coming 8 weeks to submit their concepts regarding the symposium to be convened on the matter.
Dr. Salman Al-Owda, the prominent Islamic scholar, said Islamic scholars lack the necessary information required for formulating a Fatwa on hereditary diseases. He said convening the conference is important for clarifying the situation for them. According to him consideration of the opinion of the Council of Prominent Scholars is also important.   

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