Sahara refugee camps: Iodine in camel milk leads to goitre
Article image

Sigrun Henjum defended today her PhD thesis on the iodine levels in the Saharawi refugee camps in Algeria.

Published 21 October 2011

The dissertation for PhD degree, “Excessive iodine intake among refugees from Western Sahara. - A cross-sectional study of long-term refugees located in Algeria” was today successfully defended at the Oslo and Akershus University College. 

The data for the thesis was collected during a field work in the Saharawi refugee camps in 2007, where the researcher took samples of the iodine concentration in urine, drinking water and food, as well as carrying out both ultra sound tests of the thyroid and questionnaires. More than 800 women and children from 92 households took part in the survey. 

The study showed significant public health problems related to the iodine intake. 

"There were sky high levels of iodine in camel milk", Henjum stated during her presentation. 

Urine samples of children showed that the median level of iodine was the double of recommended. In women, the median level was 1,5 times the recommended level. 

The source of the problem is probably due to iodine in the drinking water and milk - particularly camel milk. The urinary iodine levels correlated with the levels of iodine in the drinking water. In addition, in households with livestock children had an increased thyroid volume. The studies also found that 46 % of the women were anaemic, something that negatively affects the thyroid function.

Saharawi political prisoners file legal complaint against Morocco

A group of Saharawi political prisoners today filed a legal complaint against Morocco in to the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention. 

01 July 2022

Imprisoned student on hunger strike

The Saharawi student activist Mohammed Layichi has been on hunger strike for almost a month. 

09 June 2022

Friendship group for Western Sahara established in the Norwegian parliament

A group of friends for Western Sahara consisting of representatives from all nine political parties was established today in the Norwegian parliament

01 June 2022

Report: Aquaculture industry needs to improve sustainability

What is being done to prevent that Norwegian salmon production undermines food security in West Africa? The Norwegian Support Committee for Western Sahara has challenged Norway's 40 largest aquaculture companies. 

24 May 2022