International Journal of Hematology and Oncology 2023, Vol 33, Num 1 Page(s): 247-252
Thalassemia Premarital Screening Program: Public View, What has been Done, What Needs to be Done?

Yasemin I. BALCI1, Ahmet ERGIN2, Aziz POLAT1, Taner ATILGAN1, Utku UZUN2, Hasan KOYUNCU3

1Pamukkale University, Faculty of Medicine, Pediatric Hematology and Thalassemia Center, Denizli, TURKEY
2Pamukkale University, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Public Health, Denizli, TURKEY
3City Hemoglobinopathy Control Center of Regional Health Administration, Denizli, TURKEY

Keywords: Premarital screening, Thalassemia, Turkey
Premarital screening (PMS) can be an important tool to detect of carriers of hemoglobinopathies. The aim of this study was to assess the knowledge and attitude of premarital couples about Thalassemia before PMS in Denizli province. This cross-sectional study was conducted between August-December 2013. The target population was all premarital couples who applied to the City Hemoglobinopathy Control Center during the designated period. A self-report questionnaire was completed by 501 participants. Most of the couples (91%) strongly agreed with the importance of PMS program, that the program will contribute to a reduction in the prevalence of some genetic diseases. Approximately half of the couples (57.7%) previously heard thalassemia and the hemoglobinopathy control program. The main source of information on thalassemia was TV, the internet, and newspapers. 53.2% of participants think “thalassemia trait” as a disease. 82.5% of participant had no idea about that or thought thalassemia is not contagious. Half of the participants (50%) indicated that couples who have thalassemia can marry and have children. Approximately half of the participants reported that thalassemia passes down through families and consanguineous marriage increases the risk for having thalassemia. 41.6% of participants said thalassemia is a preventable disease. Multivariable analysis demonstrated that couples knowledge score about thalassemia positively correlated with age and educational status of the participants (p= 0.013 and p< 0.001, respectively). Knowledge in the couples about thalassemia was inadequate. Awareness of the public should be raised by an educational campaign in schools and health care services.