THE University of PNG School of Medicine and Health Sciences and School of Humanities and Social Sciences will conduct a research in iodine deficiency in children and young people in Zia, Morobe.
The research will be conducted by Professor Victor Temple, a micronutrient specialist with the School of Medicine and Health Sciences, Sakarepe Kamene, a Linguistics and Modern Languages lecturer, Professor Michael Zimmermman, the chief executive officer of Global Iodine Network in Zurich, Switzerland, and final year medical student Kezia Sasa.
Kamene said the lack of iodine in the body can cause mental retardation in children and young people, affecting learning ability.
Iodine is a kind of salt (micronutrient) in the soil which is absorbed by plants.
“When people eat food like taro, cassava, banana, yam or leafy vegetables, we take in this iodine salt into our body that complements the growth of the mind,” he said.
“Hence a special research on iodine deficiency and mental retardation in young people especially children between 9 and 12 will be conducted in Zia from Feb 17 to 25.”
He said one might look healthy, big, strong and muscular but the mind “is not developed and can adversely affect our mental development”.
“When this happens, we are not able to think and understand things well and not alert in class due to low and weak capacity of mind. It poses a serious learning issue.”
The study is sponsored by Global Iodine Network based in Zurich, Switzerland and the United Nations Children’s Fund (Unicef). The research team will be based at Dona village for five days.
Kamene said the acquired information can form a credible source for soliciting more assistance and support from local and international organisations and agencies to build a community that is wise, happy, healthy, wealthy, dynamic and progressive in years to come.
Students – 150 boys and girls – will be picked from the Toyare and Zare-Aingse primary schools.
Kamene said four similar studies were conducted in Chimbu, Kimbe, West New Britain, Gulf and the Baiyer River in Western Highlands. The National
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