HYDERABAD - The ‘Iodine deficiency’ is a major public health issue in the country, as 50 per cent of the population is at risk and 72 percent of children are iodine deficient, which leads to two million children being born with mental impairment.

Talking to APP senior Physician and Medical Health officer Incharge Polio Control Room district Hyderabad Sindh Dr Ashfaque Qureshi said that care is better than cure.

As such we have to invest more for taking preventive measures to reduce the financial burden of the government being incurred on curative programmes and keep the nation healthy through their lifestyle, he added.

Dr Qureshi informed that the 40 percent women and 60 percent children are affected in Sindh alone due to iodine deficiency consequent to lack of awareness and wrong perceptions about iodine salt, non- implementation of laws, and inadequate performances of concerned management.

Dr Ashfaque Qureshi informed that in Pakistan a survey was conducted in 2014 /15, which showed that 60 percent children between the age group of 6 to 15 years and 70 percent women between the age group of 15 to 45 years have been affected due to non- usage of iodine salt.

He said more than 60 percent population of the province was not using iodine salt because of unawareness and lack of implementation of the laws.

Dr Ashfaque said the deficiency of iodine produces a number of disorders in human population and mostly the affected groups are children and pregnant women.

He further added that iodine deficiency causes mental retardation, poor physical growth, deafness, short stature and goiter.

Dr Ashfaque Qureshi said that globally iodine deficiency was the single most common cause of preventable mental retardation, brain damage, cretinism ,reproductive failure and others serious health problems.

He said medical community could play a vital role in advocacy for the usage of iodine salt at grass- root level.