LAHORE Minister for Population Welfare Punjab Neelam Jabbar Ch has stressed upon the doctors and paramedical staff to create awareness among the mothers, especially in rural folk, regarding the harmful affects of deficiency of iodine in the human body and to teach them for the regular use of iodized salt to minimize the diseases. While talking to a delegation of doctors, midwives and LHWs, the minister said children suffered from the many diseases due to non-availability of medical facilities and absence of protective measures specially deficiency of iodine, iron etc. However, the people living in remote areas were not aware of the treatment and the protective measures regarding these diseases, she added. She asked the doctors, mid-wives and other paramedical staff to launch a combined awareness campaign among women and children about the harmful affects of the deficiency of iodine. She said preventable diseases could be avoided through protective measures, the best approach to make the people and future generation healthy was to safe the child & mother from preventable diseases. She said more than half of population of the country was facing the risk of iodine deficiency, whereas, iodine deficiency could decrease a childs survival and impair his normal growth. In pregnant women it caused miscarriages, still birth and other complications. She said children with the Iodine Deficiency Disorders (IDD) could grow up stunted, apathetic, mentally retarded and incapable of normal movements, speech or hearing. She said longer and severe deficiency of iodine put cause the formation of goitre and the use of iodized salt was essential to avoid these complications. Neelam Jabbar said government had evolved a comprehensive strategy for strengthening protective health measures through community based initiatives and she appealed the parents, teachers and ulema to teach the common people regarding the use of iodized salt and its benefits, during their individual and joint communication. In order to achieve the targets besides using internal resources the cooperation of the donor agencies ie UNICEF and WHO were being received in this regard, she concluded.