University Students in Nigeria: Attitude Towards Marriage in the Face of Haemoglobin Genotype Incompatibly
Sickle cell disease is the commonest genetic disease world over and predominantly affects Africans and the generality of the black race. The issue of genotype incompatibility among prospective couples and decisions on marriage under such circumstances can have significant implications on the control of this dreaded disease in any country. The purpose of this study was to find out the awareness of students of Benue State University, Makurdi of their haemoglobin genotype status, and their attitude towards marriage in the face of genotype incompatibility.
This was cross sectional study involving 300 students of Benue State University, Makurdi; selected by a multistage stratified sampling technique, using self-administered structured questionnaire. The questionnaire tapped relevant information on the awareness of students of their haemoglobin genotype status and what would be their decision on marriage in the face of genotype incompatibility.
One hundred and fourteen students (38%) admitted that they were engaged in an ongoing relationship serious enough to end in marriage. Of this, approximately half (50.8%) knew their haemoglobin genotype status, while only 41.2% knew their partners' haemoglobin genotype. As much as 47% of these students who are involved in a relationship indicated their intention to proceed with marriage to their partners, genotype incompatibility notwithstanding.
Many university students do not view sickle cell anaemia and genotype incompatibility as issues to be considered in making marital decisions and are therefore willing to proceed with marriage in such circumstances. The study recommends that counsellors should intensify awareness and campaign on premarital genetic counselling among Nigerian undergraduates.
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