To obtain baseline pre-intervention prevalence levels of iodine deficiency and parasitic and helminth infections in school-going children in Bie Province, Angola.
A cross-sectional study conducted in randomly selected schools. The target population was children aged 6–10 years.
Bie Province, Angola.
A total of 1029 children sampled, with 791 stool samples and 826 urine samples collected from twenty-four schools.
Widespread severe and moderate deficiencies in iodine. Children in five schools were severely iodine deficient. All sampled schoolchildren were iodine deficient to a greater or lesser extent. In all, 80 % of all children across the twenty-four schools were infected with one or a combination of intestinal helminths and intestinal protozoa.
These findings have serious implications for the cognitive development of Angolan children, as well as for Angola’s development in terms of productivity and economic potential. It is strongly recommended that the provincial and national Ministries of Health, in collaboration with international health agencies, immediately plan and implement a strategy to provide sufficient iodine through iodised oil capsules and iodised salt to the iodine-deficient population. National coalitions need to be strengthened among the government, partners and salt producers. It is also recommended that all the children in schools be de-wormed for multiple helminth species at least twice a year.