Iodine deficiency and women’s health: Colonialism’s malign effect on health in Oromia region, in Ethiopia

Iodine deficiency and women’s health: Colonialism’s malign effect on health in Oromia region, in Ethiopia

By Begna Dugassa

ABSTRACT

Iodine

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Objectives: Iodine is an essential nutrient needed for the synthesis of hormone thyroxin. Hormone thyroxin is involved in the metabolism of several nutrients, the regulation of enzymes and differentiation of cells, tissues and organs. Iodine deficiency (ID) impairs the development of the brain and nervous system. It affects cognitive capacity, educability, productivity and child mortality. ID hinders physical strength and causes reproductive failure. The objective of this paper is to explore if the health impacts of ID are more common and severe among women. Design: Using primary data (notes from a visit) and secondary data, this paper examines if the effects of ID are more common and severe among Oromo women inEthiopia. Findings: The health impacts of ID are more common and severe among women. Conclusions: ID is an easily preventable nutritional problem. In Oromia, the persistence of ID is explained by the Ethiopian government’s colonial social policies. Preventing ID should be seen as part of the efforts we make to enhance capacity building, promote health, gender equity and social justice. Implications: Iodine deficiency has a wide range of biological, social, economic and cultural impacts. Preventing ID can be instrumental in bringing about gender equity and building the capacity of people.

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