To redress the issue of iodine deficiency among children, the health department will conduct a survey among children in 6 to 12 year age group in the district to know the exact number of students suffering from goitre, a disease caused due to the deficiency of iodine.
The Centre has selected Nawanshahr along with Muktsar, Faridkot and Hoshiarpur districts in Punjab under the National Iodine Deficiency Disorders Control Programme.
Around 3,000 children of primary schools and villages will be covered by the health department in the survey and a detailed report will be sent to the central government within 10 days.
Three teams of health officials each comprising a medical officer, a block education educator and a health inspector will carry out the survey under the supervision of the district health officer who has been appointed nodal officer of the campaign.
Speaking to Hindustan Times, district health officer Garja Singh said, "We have received a letter from the central government for the start of a campaign under the national programme of iodine deficiency."
To complete this survey within 10 days, the district has been divided in 30 clusters and 90 children will be covered under one cluster, Singh said, adding that among 90 randomly selected children, 45 will be from schools and the remaining will be from villages.
During the survey, blood and urine samples of children will be collected and sent to the state laboratory in Chandigarh, the DHO said.
He added that if the team finds any child suffering from goitre, it will collect a sample of salt being consumed in the house and will send it to laboratory for testing.
Apart from conducing medical tests of children, the teams will also educate teachers and students on the importance of iodine through lectures, posters and other methods, Singh said.
He added that, "Goitre usually occurs among children and due to iodine shortage throat gets enlarged."
The DHO added that it is very necessary for a person to consume 10 microgram of iodine in a day, which is mostly found in salt.
Owing to excessive use of fertilisers by farmers, the quantity of iodine has been almost finished or minimised in the ground water, he said.
"Pregnant women should always keep in mind the importance of iodine as its deficiency can affect the health of the newborn who may become mentally retarded or develop defect in vision or hearing or speech," said Garja Singh.
He said salt should always be kept covered so that iodine does not evaporate.