Supervisor: Dr. Giorgio Pasquini
Thyroid dysfunction causing abnormal goiters is one of the most common diseases we have been curing surgically. These goiters cause inability and can only be cured with surgical therapy, due to the difficulties in acquiring the necessary therapeutic drugs.
Since 2006 we have made 800 total and/or partial thyroidectomies (thyroid removal) for thyroid
dysfunctions. After total thyroid removal the patient needs to take thyroid hormones forever. An agreement has been reached with local authorities to treat these patients with EUTIROX (or equivalent drug). The drug is donated by H.E.W.O. hospital. The hospital recommends/compels periodical check-ups. These are necessary for administering and distributing the drug.
Currently there are over 500 patients, the majority in need of hormone replacement therapy, whilst a minority needing suppressive therapy. The current cost to cover patients needs is about 2000 Euro per year.
Tetanus is a typical complication caused by calcemia reduction induced by permanent or transitional damage during thyroid surgery. This problem can be prevented and eliminated simply via calcium therapy (intravenous or oral). However, this drug is not easily available in Ethiopia and needs to be sent from Italy. The cost for this drug is about 1000 Euros per year.
Diagnosis for thyroid dysfunction and the subsequent treatment decision is based on case history and check-up, image analysis (ultrasound tests- ultrasound scan) and laboratory diagnosis (thyroid function test- fT3 fT4 TSH) .
The ultrasound scan at Quiha hospital is currently on its last legs and needs to be substituted with a more modern scan at a cost of more than 10,000 Euros.
Thyroid diagnostic tests TSH and total T3 and T4 are now carried out at H.E.W.O. laboratory on an analytical platform recently acquired by Lazio Chirurgia. We can perform preoperative thyroid evaluation and subsequent follow-up on operated patients.
Prevention of thyroid disorders could easily be done by simply giving iodine salt to the entire population. Given that Ethiopia has the raw materials (iodine and salt), it would be sufficient to finance a project to iodize salt.
This project could be carried out by a small local firm. This could subsidize work opportunities, start up health education in schools, local health care units and with health workers. The project could start in Quiha village where the hospital has already promoted health and hygiene awareness with the parents of children that attend the kindergarten (now 80 children). Subsequently the initiative could be extended to other areas according to population needs and government requests.
A progressive reduction and the final the total eradication of this disease is the goal of this project.
The project will also increase the local population's awareness about this syndrome.