IZAAS Medical Programme Update - July 2014
Iodine deficiency is globally estimated to affect 150 million people within Africa¹.
One of the side effects of Iodine deficiency (a lack of the trace mineral Iodine found in fish and milk) is the formation of a Goitre. A Goitre is an abnormal swelling of the thyroid gland that causes a lump to form in the throat. This abnormal swelling can increase so dramatically that breathing and swallowing are severely affected. Although most Goitres are benign, it is estimated that in 1 in 20 may be a sign of Thyroid Cancer.
Goitres can have several possible causes including:
- an overactive thyroid gland (hyperthyroidism)
- an underactive thyroid gland (hypothyroidism)
- a lack of iodine (a trace mineral found in milk and fish) in the diet
The treatment for goitres depends on the underlying cause. If the goitre is small and not causing any problems it is usually left alone and monitored. Other possible treatments include thyroid hormone replacement, dietary supplements and, in the most severe cases, surgery.
BCT is committed to supporting the treatment of goitre cases in Tanzania where there is a high level of iodine deficiency. In July 2014 Beta Charitable Trust sponsored the surgery and after care for 12 Goitre patients through the Izaas medical programme in Tanzania. These patients came to the clinic with varying levels of goitre problems. Lucia Mulengera recounts her experience. Lucia Mulengera, 45 years old from Chato said: ‘ I have 4 children, I have been suffering with a goitre since I delivered my last child who is 12 years old now, I was very happy when IZAAS selected my name for the operation this year. My husband escorted me to Mugana Hospital, now I am okay, happy with my family, thank you BCT, I will be able to look after my children’.
With special thanks to Izaas for organising and supervising the clinic.