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Aims: Iodine plays a key role in thyroid hormone production and functioning. Inadequate iodine intake results in iodine deficiency (ID) which impairs the normal functioning of the thyroid. The deficiency is responsible for damage to brain development, growth retardation, cretinism, and thyroid dysfunction. Millions of people have been condemned to a life of few prospects and continued underdevelopment due to ID. The study was conducted to assess iodine status among primary school children in the Mt. Elgon region and the impact of salt iodization on this status.
Study Design: A school-based cross-sectional descriptive study to assess iodine status among primary school children was employed in the study.
Study Area and Duration: The study was carried out in Kenya, Bungoma County, Mount Elgon Sub-County. The study period was between 27th November 2018 and 26th November 2019.
Methodology: Healthy primary school children aged 6 to 12 years who met the inclusion criteria were included in the study. Spot urine samples were collected in schools, while water samples were collected from different water sources. Salt was collected from households (HH) and at distribution outlets. The Sandell Kolthoff reaction was used to analyse urine and water samples while salt was analysed using iodometric titration.
Results: The median urinary iodine concentration (UIC) was 200.7 µg/l. Out of which 0.55% were severely deficient, 5.25% moderately deficient, 18.23% with a mild deficiency, 25.69% had adequate iodine levels, 22.38% had more than adequate, and 27.90% had excess iodine levels. Household and salt samples from different distribution outlets that conformed to set standards of iodization were 49.4% and 63.64%, respectively. Iodine was not detected in all the water samples collected.
Conclusion: The study population was found to have adequate iodine based on the median UIC of 200.7 µg/l. However, there was a coexistence of both deficiency and excessive UIC and salt iodization within the population. No iodine was detected in the water samples in the region.
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