By John Rey Saavedra

IODINE DEFICIENCY. Teofilo San Luis of Iodine Global Network (3rd from left) is in Cebu City to launch the ThyroMobile on Monday (Sept. 25, 2023). The ThyroMobile carries an apparatus that can do goiter screening, thyroid ultrasound, blood testing for thyroid hormone, urine and salt testing for iodine level to the populace, even at far-flung areas. (PNA photo by John Rey Saavedra)

CEBU CITY – A group of doctors are in the city on Monday to drum up iodine deficiency disorder (IDD) prevention in localities and urged Cebuano households to ensure their kitchen salt is “properly and adequately iodized” to prevent thyroid or goiter diseases.

Dr. Teofilo San Luis, national coordinator of Iodine Global Network (IGN), said the iodization level of salt sold in supermarkets is 30 to 70 parts per million (ppm), but when it reaches the household, the level of iodization decreases to 15 to 45 ppm.

“If you buy iodized salt in the supermarkets and you store it in your kitchen where it has a high temperature, the iodine content may drop,” San Luis said.

He advised households to keep their salt in cool and dry places and avoid storing it in humid areas.

San Luis led a group of doctors in collaborating with local government units (LGU) in Cebu to address IDD through ThyroMobile, a concept of mobile laboratory that originated in Germany that can do free goiter screening, thyroid ultrasound, blood testing for thyroid hormone, urine testing for iodine level, and salt testing for iodine level even at the far-flung areas.

Dr. Jeremy Robles, president of the Philippine Thyroid Association said ThyroMobile is a concept that LGUs can work with to address disorders traceable to iodine intake inadequacy among the populace, especially among pregnant and lactating women who are most vulnerable to IDD.

IDD refers to the abnormalities that result when the body does not get enough iodine. Iodine deficiency can lead to inadequate production of thyroid hormones from the thyroid gland (hypothyroidism). Thyroid hormones prevent mental retardation, growth restriction, physical deformities, miscarriage, and stillbirths, according to the Department of Health Facebook page.

Robles said his group conducted a free medical mission to 150 patients in Barangay Carreta following reports that Cebu was among the top 15 provinces in the country with “high prevalence of IDD.”

Before the afternoon’s medical mission, IGN, in partnership with the Department of Health-Central Visayas, Philippine Thyroid Association Inc., Rotary Club, Merck and Salinas Foods Inc., launched the ThyroMobile at the Vicente Sotto Memorial Medical Center (VSMMC).

“Vicente Sotto is here to support ThyroMobile because we are not only concerned with the curative aspect as a regional cancer center but we are also working for the preventive aspect,” VSMMC director Dr. Gerardo Aquino Jr. said at a press conference. (PNA)