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Algeria : Couples pay huge sums for health certificates to get married

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  • Algeria : Couples pay huge sums for health certificates to get married

    Algiers, July 26, 2007: Young people in Algeria have to think twice before undertaking the final step for marriage. In addition to economic and social problems there comes the turn of health issues.

    Indeed, Algerian legislation has introduced an additional clause without which marriage wouldn’t be legally recognized. An important document has to be presented to the administration by both the prospective bride and the prospective groom in order to get their marriage act ratified. The document consists of a health certificate testifying about the state of the couple's health.

    To get a clearer idea about the process, our reporter paid a visit to some private clinics here in Algiers and had some interviews with “patients” who were about to marry. The striking thing at first sight is the overcrowded waiting rooms and the long queues of men and women waiting anxiously for their turn. Souad is a young woman our reporter met on site and when questioned by our reporter she declared; "I was not worried at all, but when it comes to a marriage certificate, this is a very serious matter whether for me or for my future husband…I wouldn’t have made this health check up if it was not compulsory for the famous legal document.”

    But it seems that not everybody has Souad's confidence about her health state, in the case of Linda, another young woman our reporter met in the same clinic, signs of anxiety were apparent on her face as she left. “I’m afraid of the results, I’m wondering if my fiancée will stay with me if there is any bad surprise.”

    "What if it was a bad surprise from his part, would you let him down?", our journalist asked. After a long pause, the lady replied “It depends on the nature of the sickness, I would never quit him if he was diabetic for instance, but I’d break up if he was an HIV bearer."

    If this new procedure has been hailed by most of the couples, still there are those who feel uncomfortable with it, some are incredulous and are very preoccupied by the test analysis rather than the price. On one hand they are worried about any bad surprise which leads them to bribe some pseudo lab assistants by giving them huge sums of money for positive test results.

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