Gombe emir enforces genotype screening before marriage

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From Abdulrazaq Mungadi, Gombe

The Emir of Akko Emirate council in Akko Local Government Area of Gombe State, Alhaji Umar Muhammad Atiku, has introduced a compulsory genotype screening for intending couples in the council.

According to the emir, the lack of attention to genotype screening has continued to affect society in regard to healthy births. ‘If we had been paying attention to this issue of genotype the way we are focusing on HIV/AIDS screening before marriage, we would be doing more good to our children and ourselves as well,’ he said.

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Alhaji Atiku stated this during an advocacy visit by a team from Gombe State Contributory Healthcare Management Agency (GoHealth) on Wednesday at his palace in Kumo, the headquarters of Akko LGA.

Daily Sun reports that in 2019 the state House of Assembly had passed a motion to compel traditional and religious leaders as well as parents in the state to ask for genotype screening results before joining intending couples as husband and wife.

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The motion which was passed as a policy of the government urges individuals set to be wedded to provide results of genotype screening, just like that of HIV/AIDS which was a norm for every wedding in the state.

However, years after the motion its implementation still remains to be seen as the state Sickle Cell Club continues to grow in membership. Daily Sun learned that club now has over 5,000 members in the whole of Gombe State and caring for mostly one to seven-year-old Sickle Cell patients is a major challenge in Gombe.

‘I think the government and other stakeholders should look into this issue and work on enforcing this type of screening before marriage. Because even as we are enforcing here in the palace some intending couples do boycott the palace and get wedded elsewhere,’ the emir told Daily Sun.

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