Genetic disorders are frequent in the Arab population of Israel, mainly because of the preference for consanguineous marriages. Many of the inherited diseases are present with a high frequency only in a limited region or a single village. It is therefore not surprising that, in each of the villages, a different distribution of genetic diseases is found; thus, a detailed knowledge of the genetic disorders present in each village is of utmost importance for genetic counseling. As a direct consequence of these observations two community genetics clinics were opened as a pilot project to study their impact on the population to be served. The use of a computer database allowed for easier and more accurate genetic counseling. There were almost 1,500 visits in the 4-year period since the introduction of the services. During the years an increase in the mean number of consultations per clinic as well as a change in the type of referrals was observed. There was an increasing proportion of clinics that were made at a time in which genetic counseling allow for primary prevention. The presence of a genetic counselor in the village clinic allows for better and closer contacts with the family physician.
- Community genetics
- Genetic counseling