The Ministry of Public Health is gearing up to provide premarital medical tests, which have been made mandatory, at three clinics, starting from next month. The clinics are located in the West Bay, Al Khor and Airport areas and tests will be carried out twice a week for couples wishing to get married.
The Al Khor clinic will serve all residents of Al Khor and Al Shamal areas. The clinic located in West Bay will cater to Doha residents. The Airport clinic will serve south Doha and the country's southern region.
Directives issued in 2006 stipulated that all couples wishing to get married, both nationals and residents, have to undergo the medical tests.
The tests will look for three types of diseases — genetically-transmitted disorders, infectious diseases like AIDS, Hepatitis B and Hepatitis C, and chronic diseases like diabetes and hypertension. It will take around two weeks for the results to be known.
Should one of the partners' test results come out positive, they can decide whether to proceed with the marriage or call it off. After the tests, the NHA will issue a certificate to the couple wanting to get married, and the document has to be presented in court for the marriage to be legalised.
Dr Abdullatif Al Khal, a member of the committee overseeing the premarital tests, had recently said that ignorance about the health of one's partner had led to messy divorce cases.
These divorces usually take place after the first child is born and is found to be suffering from some serious disease, he said.
It has been left to the National Health Authority (NHA) to ensure that appropriate steps are taken to administer the tests. In June, the NHA conducted a workshop to train staff on administering the tests.
There are plans to make the testing facilities available at all health centres in the country.
A decision on whether those wanting to get married outside Qatar have to undergo the medical tests is yet to be taken.