The Anambra State House of Assembly has passed a bill for a law to control and eradicate sickle cell in the state, with a provision that no marriage would be entered into without the couple possessing a certificate declaring them free of sickle cell anemia.
Titled ‘Sickle cell disease control and eradication repeal bill’, it seeks to eradicate sickle cell anemia in the state and setting those living with it free from all kinds of oppression, abuse, and exploitation. It was sponsored by the member representing Anaocha 11 constituency, Chief Charles Ezeani.
According to the bill, “No parent, guardian or group of persons shall give out a maiden in marriage without verification of a qualified sickle cell disease prevention certificate.”
It also provides that no religious body or registry should wed any person without verification, adding that anybody who contravened the law would be guilty of an offense and would be liable on conviction, to the fine of N200,000 or imprisonment for three years, or both.
The bill also provides that there would be a state monitoring committee to ensure strict compliance
Sponsor of the bill, Chief Charles Ezeani, who described 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.
He 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.