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More than 300 types of inherited diseases in Oman.

Muscat: Oman's Ministry of Health has revealed in a new report that more than 300 types of diseases are inherited by citizens from their parents in the country.

It includes different diseases related to blood disorders, chromosomal abnormalities and metabolic disorders.

While three types of blood diseases make up only 10 per cent of the total, chromosomal abnormalities constitute 28.4 per cent, metabolic and gene disorders comprise 51 per cent and 21 per cent respectively.

The probability that a child will be afflicted with one of the genetic disease is 3.5 to 4.7 per 1,000 live births.

The report states the probability a newborn will have birth defects or any of the genetic diseases in the Sultanate is 5 per cent to 7 per cent compared to the global average of 4.4 per cent.

The statistical data shows that 37 per cent of the newborn deaths and premature delivery are due to congenital disorders. The genetic disorders also contribute to 10 per cent of infant mortality and 52 per cent of mortality among older children.

In 2014, the National Center for Health detected 140 cases of Down's syndrome, while 135 cases were detected in 2013.

Dr Said Al Araimi, a specialist at the national centre for he inherited diseases told Oman Daily that the Ministry of Health will soon create facilities in all government hospitals for pre-martial tests as well as introduce genetic counselling service.

He added the Ministry of Health plans to carry out studies and research regarding the spread of disease in society. It will also start specific units to treat genetic blood diseases.

Al Araimi said that premarital tests would go a long way in solving the problem of genetic disorders.

"Genetic disease has no cure and treatment is very cumbersome and costly. The patient has to undergo the trauma of taking medicine or blood transfusion life-long or has to go for organ transplant.

More than 60 million riyals (Dh572 million) are spent annually to treat such patients, said Al Araimi.

Furthermore, Al Araimi expects the number of people with genetic diseases to increase by five to ten per cent in the next 50 years, which will be a heavy burden on the health sector, family and society.

Earlier, Dr Salam Al Kindi, head of the haematology department at Sultan Qaboos University, stressed the importance of awareness campaigns and education about blood disorders in Oman as well as having early premarital tests.

These inherited disorders include sickle cell disease, G6PD deficiency and thalassaemia.

"It's a big challenge for the country as 60 per cent of a population of 2.5 million, carries at least one type of genetic blood disorder," Al Kindi said.

Some 45 million riyals (Dh429 million) was spent on treating blood disorders in 2014.

Health officials stressed Omanis should undergo premarital tests, which would lead to a sharp dip in blood related genetic disorders as inter-tribal marriage is very common in society.

Many have called for premarital tests to be made obligatory to save their children from carrying genetic disorders.

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Publication:Gulf News (United Arab Emirates)
Geographic Code:7OMAN
Date:Jul 12, 2015
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