The Uzbek Senate approves legislation of universal iodination of salt
Tashkent, Uzbekistan, 5 April 2007 – Uzbek parliamentarians have approved a law on the prevention of iodine deficiency disorders (IDD) which makes production of iodized salt in the country mandatory for salt producers. The new legislation also envisages strengthening state control over the quality and safety of iodized salt and foodstuffs and monitoring iodine deficiency diseases in the country.
This law is important for Uzbekistan, a country where over a third of the population suffer from goitre and over 12 million people are affected by iodine deficiency disorders, threatening the future of a generation of children. According to Multiple Indicator Cluster Surveys (MICS) data, currently about 53.7 per cent of households are consuming iodized salt nationwide.
“Salt iodination is the most effective way to protect children from iodine deficiency – the world’s leading cause of preventable mental retardation and brain damage” - UNICEF representative in Uzbekistan
Welcoming the adoption of the IDD law by the Senate, the UNICEF representative in Uzbekistan Reza Hossaini said, “This legislation will enable the IDD programme to expand all over the country and will ensure its continued sustainability”.
“Salt iodination is the most effective way to protect children from iodine deficiency – the world’s leading cause of preventable mental retardation and brain damage,” Hossaini continued.
There are 63 large salt producers operating in the country and with their current capacity, they can supply up to 70 per cent of the population with iodized salt.
Uzbekistan’s Universal Salt Iodination advocacy campaign began more than a decade ago with the support of UNICEF and Asian Development Bank (ADB), which provided technical assistance to the government. UNICEF in cooperation with the ADB provided equipment for iodination and established a national mechanism for the systematic supply of the needed potassium iodate. A number of salt producers were equipped with the laboratories and trained in monitoring of quality of process. During the campaign, UNICEF and the Ministries of Public Education and Health conducted a series of health lessons at about 10,000 schools with the participation of over 2 million children. In addition to the advocacy campaign, a National Salt Producers Association has been established and a Chairman elected. The main goal of the Association’s activities is to encourage the exclusive production of iodized salt and it is an important partner in the campaign.
UNICEF is on the ground in over 150 countries and territories to help children survive and thrive, from early childhood through adolescence. The world’s largest provider of vaccines for developing countries, UNICEF supports child health and nutrition, good water and sanitation, quality basic education for all boys and girls, and the protection of children from violence, exploitation, and AIDS. UNICEF is funded entirely by the voluntary contributions of individuals, businesses, foundations and governments.
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