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UAE steps up fight against iodine deficiency.

Dubai The Ministry of Health has begun a surveillance programme in the UAE which is seen as the first phase in declaring the country free of iodine deficiency.

Dr. Mahmoud Fikri, Assistant Undersecretary for Health Policies, said the ministry's surveillance system will detect iodine deficiency in the country, as a first step towards its eradication.

A delegation from the Iodine Deficiency Organisation including Dr. Ezz Al Din, Nutrition Specialist and Regional Coordinator for the World Health Organisation (WHO) in the Gulf region, met with the ministry's executive management to discuss the implementation steps of the iodine deficiency programme according to international standards and policies in this regard.

Efforts praised

The delegation also lauded the efforts of the ministry of health, noting the advanced national surveillance programme and the efforts of the team members to declare the UAE as free of iodine deficiency.

The delegation also organised a number of seminars and workshops in Abu Dhabi, Dubai and Fujairah which were attended by several specialists and other medical staff.

In accordance with the recommendations of the delegation, the national programme for iodine deficiency took several urine samples from public school students in the northern emirates from May to July 2011 to check their iodine content and evaluate the current status of iodine deficiency.

Lab results awaited

The specimens were sent to labs in South Africa and India, which are the two approved labs by the Iodine Deficiency Federation and WHO.

The Ministry of Health is expected to receive the results in August and prepare a detailed report about the current status of iodine deficiency in the UAE.

The step comes as part of the iodine deficiency surveillance system which has been recently implemented by the ministry in cooperation with the Iodine Deficiency Federation in preparation of announcing the UAE free of iodine deficiency.

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Publication:Gulf News (United Arab Emirates)
Date:Jul 24, 2011
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