TO PUT an end to the rising cases of sickle cell anemia, the Anambra State House of Assembly has on Tuesday, passed a bill into law that there would not be any marriage in the state without the intending couple possessing a certificate declaring them free of sickle cell anemia.
National Light gathered that the bill which titled ‘Sickle Cell Disease Control and Eradication Repeal Bill’, seeks to eradicate sickle cell anemia in the state.
The bill also has it that, no parent, guardian or group of persons shall give out a maiden in marriage without verification of a qualified sickle cell disease prevention certificate.
The bill equally bans religious bodies from conducting marriages without the certificate and anybody who contravened the law would be liable on conviction, to the fine of N200,000 or imprisonment for three years, or both. It provides that there would be a state monitoring committee to ensure strict compliance
The Sponsor of the bill, Charles Ezeani, while describing the bill as a life- saving one, explained that it would put a final stop to the notion that’ love is blind’ by ensuring that intending couples must mandatorily present their genotype test before marriage consummation.
Chief Ezeani commended the speaker, Mrs. Rita Maduagwu, and members of the sixth Anambra State House of Assembly for being the first state legislature to pass such a health enhancement bill in the country.
The National Coordinator of people living with sickle cell anemia, Mrs. Aisha Edwards, commended the lawmakers for enacting a law that would protect sickle cell patients from all forms of discrimination and marginalization in the state.