Thalassemia basically means anemia, a genetic blood disease which the child could inherit if one or both of his/her parents is carrying the disease gene. The risk is higher if both parents have this disease. Symptoms are not visible, but it can be identified through medical tests. The World Health Organization set the 8th of May each year as the World Thalassemia Day in order to raise awareness of this disease, how to avoid it, and how it is transmitted.
The Ministry of Health released statistics which indicate that 19% of the population carry the Thalassemia gene in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Therefore, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia carries out several preventive programs to decrease the spread of this disease and other genetic diseases, such as the promotion of Pre-Marriage Test, which is mandatory before marriage in order to reduce genetic problems caused by marriages within families.