The Lagos State Government on Tuesday said it had commenced an extensive study to unravel the cause of the high rate of goitre among residents of Badagry area of the state.
Governor Babatunde Fashola (SAN) spoke of the move in Ikeja at a programme where free surgical treatment was given to patients suffering from the disease.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that some 48 patients were treated at the ceremony which took place at the Lagos State University Teaching Hospital.
The patients who benefited from the free surgery were among the 120 cases detected at a health mission held in Badagry last year.
Fashola said the high prevalence of goitre in the area was unusual and the government had raised an investigation team to find lasting solution to the problem.
“During our health mission programme in Badagry last year December, our medical team noticed unusual swellings on the necks of some many of the residents who attended the programme.
“The problem was later diagnosed as goitre and I was told it could be treated through surgical intervention.
“As for the cause, one of the things I was told is that goitre is caused by iodine deficiency,” he said.
According to Fashola, the government has, however, started an extensive study to know precisely the cause.
“This is because it seems to me that it is unusual that where people eat iodised salt, you see this kind of prevalence.
“So the investigation has commenced and the results will hopefully help us to come up with a strategy to deal with the problem,’’ he said.
Fashola said the free surgical treatment was to give the patients a new lease of life while the government was working on a preventive strategy.
He commended the state’s health personnel who took care of the patients since they arrived at the hospital on Monday.
The governor also commended the patients for summoning enough courage to come out with their problems in spite of the stigma people usually attached to it.
He urged those still awaiting surgery not to entertain fear as it was not to harm them but to make them “beautiful again.’’
Earlier, Mr Jide Idris, the Commissioner for Health, said goitre screening and treatment would henceforth be incorporated in the state-wide health mission programmes.
Idris said the step was to check prevalence of the problem and widen access to treatment.
One of the beneficiaries, Mrs Olayinka Odonibe, commended the state government for the surgery, saying it had given her a new lease of life.
She, however, appealed to the government to sustain the free surgery programme to enable patients in other parts of the state access the care.