LAHORE: Punjab Chief Minister Sardar Usman Buzdar has said that the government will soon present a bill in the Punjab Assembly to make thalassemia test mandatory before marriage. “This bill will prove as an effective mechanism for protection against the deadly disease,” he said while addressing a ceremony hosted by the CM’s Office for patients suffering from thalassemia. Punjab Health Minister Dr Yasmin Rashid was also present on the occasion. “Children are like flowers of the country’s garden and necessary steps should be taken to provide them with a happy and comfortable life.” He said that an effective awareness campaign was needed against the disease as it could be eliminated by adopting preventive measures. “The scope of the thalassemia test laboratory will be extended to the divisional level and in the second phase, it will be extended to the district level. Punjab government will provide all-out resources on a priority basis for the prevention of thalassemia.” The chief minister said that there is a lot of room for improvement in the health sector. “I am personally a witness to the problems marring the healthcare sector and have seen patients dying in my hands due to lack of medical facilities. The Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) government will work around-the-clock to revolutionise the health sector.” In the five-year term of the government, we will take exemplary measures for the improvement of the health sector and bring about real change, he added. Speaking on the occasion, Dr Yasmin Rashid said that the government’s thalassemia prevention programme was working effectively in Punjab. Thalassemia Federation of Pakistan President Lt Gen Moeenuddin Haider said that the thalassemia prevention programme was praiseworthy. “The sector will improve further due to the public-private partnership. Awareness needs to be created to donate blood as volunteers,” he added. Thalassemia Federation Punjab Secretary Dr Syed Hussnain Jafferi said that the thalassemia prevention programme of the Punjab government was working in 36 districts. Separately, the chief minister said that corruption had badly dented the country and its elimination was a top priority of the ruling Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) government. “There is no space for corrupt elements in the country and the incumbent government has a zero-tolerance policy in this regard,” the chief minister said on the International Anti-Corruption Day that was observed across the world, including Pakistan, on Sunday. Terming the corruption a “social crime”, he called for collective efforts to root out the menace from society. “Pakistan will soon become a corruption-free state under the dynamic leadership of Prime Minister Imran Khan.” The United Nations had announced to observe International Anti-Corruption Day on December 9, 2018, to impart awareness to masses about its adverse effects and minimise the problems caused by it. Meanwhile, the chief minister has expressed deep sense of sorrow and grief over the sad demise of mother of Jehanzeb Khichi, provincial minister for transport, and MNA Aurangzeb Khichi. In his condolence message, the chief minister prayed for the eternal peace of the departed soul and grant of courage and strength to the bereaved family to bear the irreparable loss with fortitude. Published in Daily Times, December 10th 2018.