Islamabad - Doctors committed to campaign proactively for iodised salt usage within and outside the premises of hospitals during a seminar on “The role of health care providers in preventing the iodine deficiency disorders” hereon Thursday.

The seminar was organised by TheNetwork for Consumer Protection (TN) in collaboration with UNICEF. Drawing attention to the need for creating awareness among the populace, the seminar was an outcome of the feedback TN received after the sessions conducted with consumers in urban/rural communities. It was learnt that doctors had never made consumers aware of the importance of iodised salt.

“It’s a crime to let any child suffer from iodine deficiency disorder that could easily be prevented by a solution as simple and effective as iodised salt,” said Dr. Baseer Achakzai

National Program Manager, National Nutrition & AIDS Control Program (NACP).

Dr. Syeda Batool, Head of Department of Gynecology at Pakistan Institute of Medical Sciences (PIMS), said, “During pregnancy and early infancy, iodine deficiency can cause irreversible effects. In pregnant women, it can cause major neuro developmental deficits and growth retardation in the fetus, as well as miscarriage and stillbirth.”

Mild to moderate maternal iodine deficiency has also been associated with an increased risk for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder in children. In adults, mild-to-moderate iodine deficiency can cause goiter as well as impaired mental function and work productivity secondary to hypothyroidism. Chronic iodine deficiency may be associated with an increased risk of the follicular form of thyroid cancer.

“Children born to iodine deficient mothers appear normal but could be low in IQ points which later in life results in their poor performance academically. Worldwide, it is estimated that about 31% of school age children do not have access to iodised salt. In Pakistan approximately 50% of enrolled children drop out before completing primary education,” said Mr. Nadeem Iqbal Executive Coordinator TN.

Dr. Hassan Orooj, Health Directorate, Capital development Authority (CDA) opined, “ Ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. All we can do is to focus on educating consumers by making them aware of the health related risks due to iodine deficiency, so that they demand iodised salt.”

Doctors and nurses from Shifa International Hospital, PIMS, Poly Clinic Hospital, CDA Hospital and Pakistan Nursing Council attended the seminar.