Islamabad:Around 36 per cent mothers and 23 per cent of pre-school children are suffering from severe iodine deficiency in the country.
According to health experts, iodine deficiency in children leads to mental retardation, loss of cognitive abilities, still-born, miscarriage and birth of children with congenital abnormalities like deaf, dumb and stunted growth.
Urinary iodine test results revealed that around 2.1 million children are born with mental disorders in the country each year due to iodine deficiency in pregnant women, they added.
According to them, the utilization of iodized salt at the household level was only 17 per cent despite 56.4 per cent respondents were aware about it.
They said goiter rates among school age children were 4.3 per cent in urban and 8.2 per cent in rural areas of the country. According to national nutrition survey, the national prevalence of goiter among women was 21 per cent.
Dr Wasim Khawaja from Pakistan Institute of Medical Sciences (PIMS) said that iodizing edible salt was an easy and inexpensive way to provide iodine to the children. He said still there were some problems, which needed to be addressed like low consumer demand, lack of quality control, absence of legislation and low production of iodized salt. He urged institutions, both public and private, individuals, parents and children to come forward and join hands for elimination of iodine deficiency disorder from the country. He said the role of media was important to create awareness among the people about the issue, as the most common way to prevent such pervasive public health problem was salt iodization.The news.