THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Abbott and the Indian Thyroid Society aim to improve thyroid disease awareness in women in India with the ‘Make a difference to life - think thyroid, think life’ programme.
The initiative is a first of its kind in India, focused on improving awareness on thyroid disorders, increasing access to diagnosis, improving standards of treatment for women and continuing medical education for doctors.
Since 2010, approximately 10 lakh individuals have been screened at the diagnostic and education camps that have been held throughout India under the ‘Think thyroid’ programme. In 2012, the effort will expand to reach 10 lakh women more.
“This partnership with the Indian Thyroid Society and local doctors will bring about a greater awareness and understanding of thyroid disorders and their related conditions. The ‘Think thyroid’ initiative demonstrates Abbott’s commitment and progress in increasing access to health care in India,” said Vivek Mohan, managing director, Abbott India Limited.
As ambassador of the ‘Think thyroid’ initiative, Juhi Chawla hopes to bring awareness of thyroid disorders to more women and increase diagnosis and treatment.
It is estimated that approximately 40 million Indians suffer from thyroid-related disorders, of which 60 per cent are women. Thyroid disorders can be due to genetic or environmental and dietary factors.
Professor R V Jayakumar, president of The Indian Thyroid Society said: “Thyroid disorder is a silent disease. With millions of Indians suffering from this disorder, the majority of cases are undiagnosed.’’
Dr Mathew John, Consultant Endocrinologist, Providence Endocrine and Diabetes Speciality Centre, Thiruvananthapuram, said that, ‘’untreated hypothyroidism during pregnancy may often lead to many complications such as an increased risk of miscarriages, stillbirth and premature birth and may also lead to mental abnormalities for the unborn child. In India, close to 5 per cent of pregnant women are detected with hypothyroidism and 13 per cent have thyroid autoimmunity.’’
Dr A G Unnikrishnan, Professor of Endocrinology at the Amrita Institute of Medical Sciences, Kochi, said there is a growing need to create awareness about the need for screening pregnant women for thyroid diseases and the medical community is committed to this cause.