Academic journal article Bulletin of the World Health Organization

Eliminating Iodine Deficiency Disorders-The Role of the International Council in the Global Partnership. (Round Table)

Academic journal article Bulletin of the World Health Organization

Eliminating Iodine Deficiency Disorders-The Role of the International Council in the Global Partnership. (Round Table)

Article excerpt

Resume

Elimination des troubles dus a une carence en iode: role du Conseil international dans le partenariat mondial

La carence en iode est la plus frequente des causes evitables de lesions cerebrales. L'OMS estime que 2,2 milliards de personnes sont exposees au risque de carence en iode dans 130 pays. Un programme d'iodation universelle du sel a ete cree en 1994 dans le but d'eliminer ce probleme a l'horizon 2000. Le present article fait le point des progres realises, en soulignant en particulier le role essentiellement scientifique du Conseil international pour la lutte contre les troubles dus a une carence en iode, organisation non gouvernementale fondee en 1986, et qui consiste maintenant en un reseau multidisciplinaire de 600 specialistes repartis dans 100 pays.

Resumen

Eliminacion de los trastornos por carencia de yodo: papel del Consejo Internacional en la alianza mundial

La carencia de yodo es la causa prevenible mas frecuente de lesiones cerebrales. Segun estimaciones de la OMS, aproximadamente 2200 millones de personas estarian expuestas a la carencia de yodo en 130 paises. En 1994 se establecio un programa de yodacion universal de la sal con la finalidad de resolver este problema antes del ano 2000. En este articulo se informa sobre los progresos realizados en esta esfera y se presta especial atencion a la funcion, primordialmente cientifica, del Consejo International para la Lucha contra los Trastornos por Carencia de Yodo, una organizacion no gubernamental fundada en 1986. En la actualidad el Consejo constituye una red multidisciplinaria que enlaza a 600 profesionales en 100 paises.

Introduction

Iodine deficiency is the most common cause of preventable brain damage. WHO estimates that 2.2 billion people are at risk in 130 countries (1). These people live in environments where the soil has been leached of iodine because of flooding in river valleys and high rainfall and glaciation in hilly areas. The deficiency in the soil leads to deficiency in all forms of plant life, including cereals. Large human populations living in systems of subsistence agriculture in developing countries are consequently affected, for instance in the great river valleys of Asia (2).

Iodine is an essential element in the chemical structure of thyroid hormones and iodine deficiency leads to a reduction in the secretion of these hormones. This is particularly important in pregnant women, who may not be able to produce the extra thyroid hormone required for normal fetal brain development in the first half of pregnancy (2).

Programmes to eliminate iodine deficiency have been established on the basis of an informal global partnership and the distribution of iodized salt. The partnership is made up of the people and governments of the affected countries, three international agencies (WHO, United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF), and the World Bank), three bilateral development agencies (Australian Agency for International Development, Canadian International Development Agency, and the Dutch International Cooperation) that provide funding to countries, the salt industry, and Kiwanis International (a World Service Club with 600 000 members which has raised USS 40 million for the support of country programmes through UNICEF) (3).

Since 1985 an international expert network, the International Council for Control of Iodine Deficiency Disorders (ICCIDD), has played an important, primarily scientific role in the partnership, relating to the initiation and monitoring of a global preventive programme involving the use of iodized salt. This body now has 600 members from 100 countries. They are professionals in the fields of endocrinology, nutrition, epidemiology, public health, iodine technology, education, and planning, and most are from developing countries. From the outset the members have been committed to assisting countries with their programmes, using iodized salt as the main technology. …

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