PESHAWAR - Chief Minister Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa Pervez Khattak vowed to make pre-marriage tests compulsory through legislation to help effectively control thalassemia in the province.

The chief minister emphasised the need of community sensitisation against the fatal disease. He was addressing at the 11th National Thalassemia Conference held at Khyber Medical College, Peshawar under the auspices of Thalassemia Federation.

In the conference, health experts presented their research papers on the causes and prevention of the disease. Doctors, thalassemia patients, their parents and volunteers from all over the country attended the event. Organisers of the conference and thalassemia patients also spoke to the participants. The chief guest administered oath to the newly-elected cabinet of the federation on the occasion.

The chief minister appreciated contribution of the welfare bodies towards treatment of thalassemia patients and termed the same as noble endeavours. Underlining the need of effective measures and conducting indigenous research for prevention of the disease, Pervez Khattak said several diseases spread because of human faults or environmental causes.

He pinpointed the need of right and well targeted steps for prevention of various diseases. He asked health experts and volunteers to create will of struggle and spirit of resistance against the diseases. He remarked that this would enable patients to live with dignity for a purposeful life. He also lauded the selfless efforts of the organisations working against thalassemia.

Pervez Khattak termed utilisation of time and resources for the welfare of ailing humanity as worship. He underlined the need of collaborated steps for the rehabilitation of needy and poor patients. He asked for chalking out a comprehensive awareness campaign to educate people about the threat of thalassemia.  He directed to involve media and elected representatives of local governments to create awareness about the disease and to ensure effective preventive steps at the grass-root level. The chief minister also assured the welfare bodies of full support of the government in combating lethal diseases.

Referring to the steps of the government initiated for the improvement of the health sector, the chief minister said Sehat Insaf Card had been started throughout the province. He said majority of the poor would benefit of it.  He announced that a separate scheme would also be initiated for those who could not benefit of Insaf cards.

The chief minister also announced legislation to combat thalassemia in the province by making pre-marriage test as compulsory. He said thalassemia was a lifelong disease; therefore, proper legislation was must for its prevention.

Pervez Khattak, while assuring practical steps to implement the recommendations of the participants for establishment of separate wards for thalassemia patients and blood bank in the hospitals, vowed to convene a joint meeting of health officials, medical experts and representatives of the welfare bodies for the purpose.