280 genetic counseling centers operating in Iran

December 23, 2020 - 16:43

TEHRAN – Some 280 centers are currently offering genetic counseling services across the country, Fatemeh Rezvan Madani, head of the prevention development center of the Welfare Organization, has stated.

The services of genetic counseling centers are free of charge for those under the Welfare Organization’s coverage and cost less for other people, she explained.

Last year (March 2019-March 2020), 384,000 households were screened at these centers, and the services resulted in the prevention of 1,444 births with disabilities; in addition, the necessary coordination was made with the Ministry of Health for abortion cases, she also noted.

Individuals can refer to genetic counseling centers before pregnancy or marriage; and then to genetic testing if needed, she added.

Over 1.3m persons with disabilities live in Iran

Pirouz Hanachi the mayor of Tehran, said in December 2019 that over 1.3 million people suffering from disabilities live in the country and the figure rises by 50,000 every year.

Majlis [the Iranian parliament] approved both general outlines and details of a bill on the rights of persons with disabilities in January 2018. Development of disability-friendly cities, free transportation, health insurance, free education, job creation, housing loans, and fewer working hours are some of the articles of the law.

Since the approval of the law, education for students with disabilities have been provided in Azad universities, subsidies for patients with spinal cord injury as well as disability care centers have been increased, in addition to residential units to families having members with disabilities.

Disability prevalence worldwide

About 15 percent of the world's population lives with some form of disability, of whom 2-4 percent experience significant difficulties in functioning.

The global disability prevalence is higher than previous WHO estimates, which date from the 1970s and suggested a figure of around 10 percent. This global estimate for disability is on the rise due to population aging and the rapid spread of chronic diseases, as well as improvements in the methodologies used to measure disability.

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