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Journalists sensitised on Universal Salt Iodization

Jul 19, 2012, 2:55 PM | Article By: Isatou Senghore

Representatives of various media houses in the country were recently sensitised on monitoring and evaluation to enforce Universal Salt Iodization (USI) and International for Control of Iodine Deficiency Disorders (IDD) Legislation in The Gambia.

Speaking at the ceremony held at NaNA conference hall in Kanifing, Malang Fofana, programme manager of NaNA, said iodine is a nutrient found in food required by the body in small amount, noting: “We need to lay a strong foundation for women and children and it is important for every Gambian to know what is iodine.”

He added: “IDDs present most typical example of micronutrient disorders. IDDs are the most prevalent noninfectious diseases in mankind household. Access to iodized salt in The Gambia is 23% only. More than 1.5 billion of the world population are in risk of lacking iodine, and WHO estimates that more then 655 million people have brain disorders and mental retardation caused by iodine deficiency.

He said The Gambia falls within the regions where IDDs have serious medical and social problems.

Economic decline has caused deterioration of nutrition status in the country.

Change in nutrition status led to increase in aliment-dependant diseases, particularly IDDs in children and women of reproductive age, current micronutrient deficiencies could be a reason for not attaining MDGs 1, 4 and 5.

He revealed that to strengthen the commitment of all media practitioners in working together to create awareness on causes, consequences and prevention of IDD and improve the situation.

For his part, Matthew Baldeh of UNICEF, said UNICEF has been long time partner with government and NaNA, especially on child issues and others, noting that they are pleased to come back and support NaNA, in particular women and the development of children.

Every child has a right to assess iodine salt, he said, adding that UNICEF will work with government to ensure that IDD reach all households in The Gambia.

Dr John Egbuta, director of ICCIDD, in his welcoming remarks, said The Gambia has a problem on IDD but there is a solution as long as people are provided with iodine salt to eliminate the non-iodine salt in the country.

He said The Gambia is running for time as by 2015 every country will account for the Millennium Development Goal expected to address infant mortality, maternal mortality and other issues.