Prevalence of At-Risk Marriages among Couples Attending Premarital Screening (PMS) Programs: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis
AuthorROSHAN, BIBIASMA SYED
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Introduction/Background: Hemoglobinopathies are among the most common inherited genetic diseases. The World Health Organization estimates that at least 5% of the world’s population are carriers for hemoglobinopathies (2.9% for thalassemia and 2.3% for sickle cell disease). Programs like Premarital Screening (PMS) have been developed in most Middle East countries on a mandatory basis to reduce at-risk marriages by providing counseling after a confirmed “genetic carrier” state for hemoglobinopathies. Aim/Objective: The aim of this systematic review and meta-analysis was to estimate the prevalence of at-risk marriages globally and see the variation by region, income level, ethnicity, study period, implementation year of PMS program, study design and consanguinity proportion. Methods: Different databases such as PubMed, Science Direct, and Scopus were searched systematically by using key terms and MeSH Terms. Studies from Google Scholar and reference lists of studies were also collected, and the author extracted all relevant data. Two reviewers independently conducted quality assessment by using Hoy et al (2012) risk of bias tool. Quality effects model (QEM) was used due to considerable heterogeneity observed between studies. Subgroup analysis and sensitivity analysis were also performed for assessing the causes of heterogeneity. Results: a total of 15 studies were included in this meta-analysis. The overall pooled prevalence of at-risk marriages among total couples at-risk was 64% (95% CI: 49%- 78%). Estimates of several subgroups were found to be different as compared to the overall pooled estimate. Funnel plot and Doi plot indicated the presence of publication bias. Sensitivity analysis including only studies with low risk led to a pooled estimate of 52% (CI: 46%, 57%) and indicated absence of publication bias. Conclusion and Recommendations: The pooled estimates varied widely and there was a substantial heterogeneity among studies, therefore, there is a need for more well-designed studies across different countries. Moreover, the importance of the quality of counseling sessions should be stressed and combined with efforts in other community sectors, such as high schools where students can attain high knowledge regarding genetic diseases before the age of marriage.
- Public Health [18 items ]