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Open Access Research article

The goitre rate, its association with reproductive failure, and the knowledge of iodine deficiency disorders (IDD) among women in Ethiopia: Cross-section community based study

Cherinet Abuye1* and Yemane Berhane2

Author Affiliations

1 Food and Nutrition Research Department, Ethiopian Health and Nutrition Research Institute, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

2 Department of Community Health, Faculty of Medicine, Addis Ababa University, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

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BMC Public Health 2007, 7:316  doi:10.1186/1471-2458-7-316

Published: 8 November 2007

Abstract

Background

Iodine deficiency is severe public health problem in Ethiopia. Although urinary iodine excretion level (UIE) is a better indicator for IDD the goitre rate is commonly used to mark the public health significance. The range of ill effect of IDD is however beyond goitre in Ethiopia. In this study the prevalence of goitre and its association with reproductive failure, and the knowledge of women on Iodine Deficiency were investigated.

Methods

A cross-section community based study was conducted during February to May 2005 in 10998 women in child bearing age of 15 to 49 years. To assess the state of iodine deficiency in Ethiopia, a multistage "Proportional to Population Size" (PPS) sampling methods was used, and WHO/UNICEF/ICCIDD recommended method for goitre classification.

Results

Total goitre prevalence (weighted) was 35.8% (95% CI 34.5–37.1), 24.3% palpable and 11.5% visible goitre. This demonstrates that more than 6 million women were affected by goitre.

Goitre prevalence in four regional states namely Southern Nation Nationalities and People (SNNP), Oromia, Bebshandul-Gumuz and Tigray was greater than 30%, an indication of severe iodine deficiency. In the rest of the regions except Gambella, the IDD situation was mild to moderate. According to WHO/UNICEF/ICCIDD this is a lucid indication that IDD is a major public health problem in Ethiopia. Women with goitre experience more pregnancy failure (X2 = 16.5, p < 0.001; OR = 1.26, 1.12 < OR < 1.41) than non goitrous women. Similarly reproductive failure in high goitre endemic areas was significantly higher (X2 = 67.52; p < 0.001) than in low. More than 90% of child bearing age women didn't know the cause of iodine deficiency and the importance of iodated salt.

Conclusion

Ethiopia is at risk of iodine deficiency disorders. The findings presented in this report emphasis on a sustainable iodine intervention program targeted at population particularly reproductive age women. Nutrition education along with Universal Salt Iodization program and iodized oil capsule distribution in some peripheries where iodine deficiency is severe is urgently required.