Karachi: Around 37 per cent children and 36pc women are suffering from iodine deficiency-related disorders in Pakistan.
These figures were unfolded by health experts at a seminar organized by Sindh government’s Nutrition Support Programme (NSP) in collaboration with UNICEF to mark World Iodine Deficiency Disorder Day.
Those who spoke on the occasion included renowned pediatrician Prof Abdul Ghaffar Billo, provincial programme manager Dr Fatima Saad, UNWFP’s Nutrition Officer Dr Yasir Ihtesham, UNICEF’s Nutrition Officer Dr Shehla Tabasum and Dr Khwaja Masood.
Apprising the audience about their latest researches, they highlighted the importance of using iodized salt in daily routine life.
Quoting a survey conducted in 2011, Nutrition Support Programme manager Dr Fahim Aijaz said that 70pc households in Pakistan were using iodized salt whereas only 51.8pc households in Sindh are, currently, consuming iodized salt.
She said iodine deficiency causes increased child mortality, mental retardation, deafness & dumbness, stunting, intellectual impairment, hypothyroidism, cretinism, goiter, maternal mortality and morbidity. She said that poor people, pregnant women and pre-school children are the worst sufferers because of iodine deficiency.
Stressing the need for evolving a comprehensive strategy to overcome iodine salt deficiency-related disorders in the province, Additional Secretary Dr Aslam Pechuho said that Sindh government was committed to bring improvement in the health sector.
A representative of UNICEF, Dr Nargiza Khodjavea, briefed participants of the seminar about the situation concerning iodine deficiency in developing countries.
Issues concerning the role of the government in policy-making, legislation, marketing and usage of iodized salt at the national and local level also came under discussion at the seminar.
Objective of the seminar was to create awareness among the masses about the importance of using iodized salt.