Ethiopian Journal of Health Sciences

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The Status of Iodine Nutrition and Iodine Deficiency Disorders among School Children in Metekel Zone, Northwest Ethiopia

G Kibatu, E Nibret, M Gedefaw


Background: Iodine deficiency disorders are serious public health problems in Ethiopia. The aim of this study was to measure the prevalence and severity of iodine deficiency disorders among school children in Metekel Zone.
Methods: A cross-sectional school based descriptive study was conducted between February 2011 and July 2012. One school containing 750 children aged between 6 and 18 years was randomly selected. Two hundred students from this school were selected by systematic random sampling. Physical examination was made according to WHO goiter classification system; 50 salt samples from households to which the sampled children belonged were tested for iodine using rapid field test kits and titration; a casual urine sample (5 ml) was taken from 30 children to measure urinary iodine spectrophotometrically, and 5 ml venous blood sample were collected from 37 children to measure thyroid relevant blood constituents using ELISA.
Results: The total goiter prevalence was 39.5%; 60% of the salt samples contained no iodine. The median urinary iodine concentration ranged from 20.54 – 62.2 (39.9 μg/L). School children who were assessed for thyroid hormones showed 18.92% elevated and 27.03% suppressed TSH levels.
Conclusion: The study demonstrated that iodine deficiency is still a severe public health problem in Metekel Zone. There is a need to further strengthen the existing controlling and monitoring system in order to achieve proper elimination of IDDs in the community.

Keywords: Iodine deficiency disorder, iodized salt, urinary iodine concentration, thyroid functions
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