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Formulate policies to prevent spread of thalassemia: HC

The High Court has directed the authorities concerned to form a seven-member expert committee to formulate policies for preventing the spread of thalassemia, a hereditary blood deficiency disease.

A High Court division bench comprising Justice Farah Mahbub and Justice Muhammad Mahbub-ul Islam passed the order yesterday.

The committee has been asked to submit a draft policy within 30 days to the court, within six months of its formation. The Health Secretary and the Director General (DG) of the Directorate of Health have been given the direction to implement the committee’s submission.

The court also issued a rule asking- why a rule would not be issued to take effective and necessary steps and why an order would not be issued to include the information related to thalassemia in the marriage registration forms, as a measure to prevent the disease from spreading.

Cabinet Secretary, Health Secretary, Director General of the Department of Health, Education Ministry Secretary, Law Secretary and Religion Secretary have been made respondents and have been asked to respond to the rule within four weeks, in an order passed yesterday.

“To prevent the spread of thalassemia, all levels of educational institutions, government officials and employees have been ordered to conduct massive campaigns among the general public. Besides, the High Court asked the defendants to submit a report on the implementation of the directive after six months. And the date for the next order has been fixed on November 7,” Advocate Manzil Morsed, lawyer of the writ petitioner told journalists.

On June 15, Advocate Md Sharwar Ahad Chowdhury and Advocate Ekhlach Uddin Bhuiyan filed the writ in public interest on behalf of the human rights and environmental organization ‘Human Rights and Peace for Bangladesh’ (HRPB).

Thalassemia is a form of blood disorder, passed from parents to children through genes.

It is caused when the body doesn’t make enough hemoglobin, which is an important part of red blood cells. Thalassemia is a treatable disorder that can be well-managed with blood transfusions, therapy and awareness.