In a three-part series of Afan Oromo broadcasts, Jalene Gemeda reports on the causes and treatments for goiter, a common debilitating illness in Ethiopia that is caused by lack of iodine.
Dr. Kebede Worku, Ethiopia’s deputy minister for health, says the prevalence of goiter is partly due to the war between Ethiopia and Eritrea. When Ethiopia lost access to coastal Assab, the country lost its major source of iodized salt. Agricultural products also have lower iodine levels because the chemical is removed by heavy rains that create soil erosion.
The cost of adding iodine to a kilo of salt is less than 0.05 centime and the process is simple. Non-iodized salt is readily accessible in Afar region and the government and UNICEF are trying to install a factory in Afar to iodize the local salt for Ethiopian consumption.