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.