Assessment of Iodine Deficiency Disorders in Purulia District, West Bengal, India

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Iodine deficiency disorders (IDD) are major public health problems in India, including West Bengal. Existing programme to control IDD needs to be continuously monitored through recommended methods and indicators. The objective of this study was to assess the prevalence of goitre, status of urinary iodine excretion (UIE) level and to estimate iodine content of salts at the household level in Purulia district, West Bengal. A school-based, cross-sectional study was conducted during June-September 2005; among 2400 school children, aged 8–10 years. The ‘30 cluster’ sampling methodology and indicators for assessment of IDD, as recommended by the joint WHO/UNICEF/ICCIDD consultation, were utilized for the study. Goitre was assessed by standard palpation technique, urinary iodine excretion was analyzed by wet digestion method and salt samples were tested by spot iodine testing kit. The total goitre rate (TGR) was 25.9% (95% Cl=24.1–27.1%) with grade I and grade II (visible goitre) being 19.5% and 6.4% respectively. Goitre prevalence did not differ by sex but significant difference was observed in respect of age. Median urinary iodine excretion level was 9.25 μg/dl and 31.6% children had value less than 5 μg/dl. Only 33.4% of the salt samples tested had adequate iodine content of ≥ 15 ppm, High goitre prevalence (25.9%) and median urinary iodine (9.25 μ g/dl) below normal range indicate existence of current iodine deficiency in Purulia district. The district is still in the iodine-deficient state. Moreover, salt iodisation level far below the recommended goal highlights IDD as major public health problems in the district. Intensified information, education and communication activities along with sustained monitoring are urgently required.

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