Sickle cell anemia is still a traumatic, fatal health condition and, in Nigeria, it’s associated with stigma. That said, the Anambra State House of Assembly has just passed a bill to make genotype test compulsory before marriage. The bill was sponsored by Charles Ezeani, a member of the Assembly representing Anaocha II constituency and fifteen others, and this was in a bid to reduce the uptick of sickle cell crisis in the state.
Aside this, the new law seeks to reduce abuse, stigmatisation and exploitation victims of sickle cell anaemia go through in the state. According to the law, no religious body or marriage registry “shall perform solemnisation of Holy Matrimony,” without presentation of a sickle cell disease prevention certificate from the intending couple.
Furthermore, the law goes on to state that anybody who contravenes the provisions of this section shall be guilty of an offence and is liable on conviction to a fine of N200,000 or imprisonment to a term of three years or both,” the law states. Speaking after the passage of the bill, Ezeani said that love is blind but the new law would ensure that lives are saved, and unnecessary death prevented.
It’s commendable that the Anambra Assembly has taken the initiative to curb sickle anemia in the state. Can other states take a leaf from the Anambra Assembly’s book?