Moldovan primary schools promote iodised salt
Child health problems caused by a lack of iodine intake motivate Moldovan authorities to promote consumption of iodised salt
CHISINAU, Moldova - 11 November 2008
All Moldovan primary schools have taken part in a special day aimed at promoting the virtues of iodised salt.
Some 140,000 children across the country learned how iodised salt boosts health, and how they should use iodised salt in food. The activity was organised by the National Scientific-Practical Centre of Preventive Medicine and the Ministry of Education and Youth, with the financial support of UNICEF.
Every student in the grades 1-4 received an information leaflet written in an easy-to-read manner. The materials also included a book containing child-friendly information on the use of iodised salt, and a detachable card designed for parents. “We would like to reach children and parents with this information, increasing the number of families who know about the benefits of iodised salt consumption. They need to apply this knowledge, put it into practice”, said the Deputy Director of the National Scientific-Practical Centre of Preventive Medicine, Senior Specialist of the Ministry of Health in health education and promotion, Varfolomei Calmic.
According to the data provided in the studies conducted by UNICEF, jointly with the Ministry of Health and the National Scientific-Practical Centre of Preventive Medicine, only 32% of Moldovan households used iodised salt in 2000. By 2005 this number had nearly doubled, reaching 59.8%.
“In order to tackle the issues of intellectual losses and health problems in children provoked by lack of iodine in food, adequately iodised salt must be consumed in 90% of the country’s households.”, said the Chief of Programme, Equal Access to Quality Services Programme within UNICEF Moldova, Svetlana Stefanet. “Daily consumption of iodized salt is the cheapest and the most efficient way to avoid deficiencies in development,” added Ms Stefanet.
Iodine deficiency is a primary cause of preventable mental retardation and brain damage among children in the first few years of life. Iodine deficiency also increases the chance of infant mortality, of problems during pregnancy, and even miscarriage. In Moldova, a country where soil and water is poor in iodine, promotion of iodised salt consumption is a priority, considering that 30% of children at the age of 6-24 months are exposed to the risk of retentions in brain development due to iodine deficiency.
The government has approved a National Programme on eradication of health problems caused by iodine deficiency. This provides the importation of only iodised salt, starting from 1 March, 2007.
For more information, please contact:
Lina Botnaru, Media Officer