Khoja S, Luby S, Ahmed Z, Akber A.
Effectiveness of health education in promoting the use of iodized salt in Lotkoh, tehsil Chitral, Pakistan.
J Pak Med Assoc Jan ;50(9):296-300.

INTRODUCTION: We evaluated the effect of health education on the use of iodized salt in a remote region. METHODS: We randomly selected 31 villages in teh Lotkoh tehsil of district Chitral in the North West Frontier Province of Pakistan. We then randomly selected 7 households from each village and inteviewed the eldest women of the family. We also tested samples of salt for iodine concentration at the user`s level. RESULTS: Eighty-five percent of families (184/217) used iodized salt exclusively. Among the samples population, the Aga Khan Health Services (AKHS) informed 67% about the importance of iodized salt. Shopkeepers and neighbors informed 25%. People informed by AKHS were more likely to know the volatile nature of iodine (76% vs 55%, p < 0.001) and the advantages of iodized salt (91% vs. 75%, p = 0.001) than persons informed by other sources. People who could name any single advantage of iodized salt were more likely to use iodized salt (97%) compared to those who could not name any advantages (62%) (p < 0.001) Iodine concentration in 78% (141/183) samples was acceptable (> or = 15 ppm). One specific brand of salt consistently had sufficient iodine concentration (91%) compared to all others (47%) (p < 0.001). CONCLUSION: Health education has been effective in promoting the use of iodized salt in these isolated rural communities. A joint effort by the government, local NGOs and the community can substitute the role of mass media in such areas. Regular evaluation of iodized salt brands should be considered.

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