Director of Social Health Department at the Ministry of Health Dr Yacoub Al-Kandari said Kuwait is considered the first Arab country fully committed to the pre-marriage examination policy, reports Al- Seyassah daily. Al-Kandari disclosed 14,000 male and female citizens or 100 percent of Kuwaitis planning to get married visited the pre-marriage examination centers in the past six months — a huge leap from two percent in 2009. He pointed out the educational and cultural developments in Kuwait have played an important role in spreading awareness among citizens on the significance of undergoing various tests prior to marriage.
He explained this led to the reduction of marriage between relatives by 12 percent; thus, the percentage of genetic diseases has remarkably declined. He revealed the number of marriage among relatives reached 1,850 out of 13,786 in the first half of the year.
On marriage among those infected with AIDS, Al-Kandari said Kuwait witnessed last year the birth of a baby whose parents tested positive on AIDS and their case was discovered when they visited a pre-marriage examination center. He further stressed that the law necessitates issuing a health certificate before marriage to determine if the union is safe or not, indicating the certificate is valid for six months maximum from the date of issuance. He added the marriage official should not sign the marriage contract without such health certificate.
He revealed the law stipulates one-year-imprisonment or KD 1,000-fine or both as penalties for any person who leaks information in the health certificate; while the marriage official who issues a marriage document without the certificate will be punished by imprisonment and fine.
He clarified the law is not applicable to expatriates but if a Kuwaiti man decides to marry a foreigner, the woman is treated like the citizen and she must visit a pre-marriage examination center; adding 1,330 non-Kuwaitis have visited these centers so far. He went on to say that tests conducted in the past six months led to the discovery of 78 people infected with hepatitis B, 19 with syphilis and seven with AIDS.
He disclosed 4.5 percent of the visitors accept polygamy while 75 percent of those who visited the centers are bachelors, 20 percent divorcees and reached 0.5 percent widows/widowers.