Apr 1, 2009, 6:38 AM
release from UNICEF states that it's estimated that because the consumption of
un-iodised salt in The Gambia is so widespread, our children's IQ average has
been lowered by as much as 15 percentage points. This means that children's
intellectual capacities are affected, eroding their ability to retain
information in their learning processes. Additionally, the release added,
mothers are subsequently affected, because women who also do not consume
iodised salt are at risk of miscarriages, and sill births, which contributes to
the Maternal Mortality Rate, which is one highest in
Despite a worldwide effort to drastically raise the level of consumption of Iodised salt globally from less than 20% in 1990 to 70% today, countries like The Gambia are in a precarious situation. In the case of The Gambia a decrease in consumption of iodised salt has actually been registered, from 8% in 1995 to 7% in 2005. " This situation threatens all the gains made in immunisation, education, sensitisation and protection," the release added.Children in The Gambia are today, amongst the most threatened. The risk of physical deformity, blindness, infections such as server anaemia and measles are greater when children do not have enough iodine in their bodies. This affects almost 10,000 babies born each year, who suffer from intellectual impairment caused by iodine deficiency in pregnancy.
UNICEF urges strong partnerships to ensure that the commitment made by the government of The Gambia, through the National Assembly and the Cabinet, in enacting the Food Act is built upon to ensure that all children and pregnant women in The Gambia consume iodised salt and a diet rich in iodine.