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Indian J Pediatr. 1998 Jan-Feb; 65(1): 115-20.

Knowledge beliefs and practices regarding iodine deficiency disorders among the tribals in Car Nicobar.

Mallik AK, Anand K, Pandav CS, Achar DP, Lobo J, Karmarkar MG, Nath LM.

Centre for Community Medicine, All India Institute of Medical Sciences, New Delhi.

It is estimated that 1,570 million people are at risk of iodine deficiency. Because of the wide spectrum of disorders that IDD includes, and lack of any obvious association between iodine deficiency and its health effects, IDD is not perceived as a major public health problem. For any disease to be effectively controlled, awareness at all levels from community to policy makers is necessary. This study was conducted to assess knowledge, beliefs and practices regarding iodine deficiency Disorders in Car Nicobar districts of Andaman and Nicobar Islands. The population is predominantly tribals involved in coconut plantations. All the village heads of the sixteen villages and parents of 10% of the school children examined for goiter were interviewed. Initial focus group discussions were conducted as no prior knowledge about local names for goitre or other related IDD information was available. The interview schedule was designed in English which was then translated into Hindi and Nicobarese and back translated into Hindi and English. A total of 114 persons were interviewed 60 males, 54 females. The local name for goiter was "Rulo" and 44% felt that it only affected females. No one had correct knowledge of the cause of goiter. About half of the respondents believed that these swellings caused problems. Sixty three (55.3%) of respondents believed that there was treatment, of which 33 said there was medical treatment, 18 respondents said traditional treatment by "LAM-EEN" and 12 felt that both therapies are required. Majority (85%) brought salt samples from the Government canteen. They did not now whether this salt was iodised. Salt was not washed before use and storage practice was satisfactory. The awareness about IDD needs reinforcement. At present the community is a passive participant in the I.D.D. Control Programme.

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