Author: MMRD Research Services
This report comes in three sections:
Part One: has additional data on the biographical attributes of surveyed respondents and recommendations regarding the media campaign; everything else (including raw data and survey design) can be found in an easier to read format in Part Three.
Part Two: raw data and more detailed analysis of salt producers, zonal officers and health personnel on iodized salt production; main comments are repeated in Part Three.
Part Three: Executive Summary, main conclusions and findings, raw data from part one educational campaign for consumers and iodized salt usage.
Purpose / Objective
The objective of this research is to assess and evaluate the Iodized Salt Consumer Education Campaign, which is a multi-media communication campaign to educate consumers and promote the consumption of iodized salt with the goal of achieving Universal Salt Iodization in Myanmar by the end of year 2000.
A detailed analysis was made:
- To assess the general media habits of consumers
- To assess the level of campaign awareness and to gauge whether the chosen media are effective
- To assess the general knowledge of consumers relating to iodized salt
- To assess the general salt usage of consumers
- To test the salt at retailers, at producers, and used at home
- Participation and opinion of teachers, students, retailers, producers, health experts and Zonal Officers
A survey of 1,200 consumers who were the main decision-makers for cooking. Personal interviews with 212 students aged 8-12 years old, 58 teachers, 94 retailers and 112 food staff (restaurant workers, food stalls). In-depth interviews were conducted with 11 State or Division Health Directors, 20 Township Medical Officers and 20 General Practitioners (mid-level government functionaries), all 5 Ministry of Mines Zonal Officers, and 31 producers of salt. Respondents were selected from state/divisions where the education campaign was carried out by stratified random sampling.
Key Findings and Conclusions
62% of the consumers were aware of the campaign with 76% in urban and 56% in rural areas. The major source of awareness was television, which was viewed by 66% of the consumers followed by word of mouth at 24%. In terms of effectiveness, 30% of consumers recalled the health message from TV and 44% recalled the performer. For recalls of the message from word of mouth, 67% of the consumers said they just remembered general health-related illnesses, 30% recalled that it prevents goiter, and 22% remembered it was good for your health. 43% of the consumers did not have any knowledge of the benefits of iodized salt. Only 20% said that lack of iodine might lead to goiter. 60% of the respondents who are women did not know of possible illness to the baby during pregnancy if they suffered from iodine deficiency.
Only 23% of consumers were found to use only iodized salt, while 34% use both kinds of salt and 39% only use non-iodized salt. 77% of the respondents who used both iodized and non-iodized salt stated they just bought what was available. For non-iodized salt users, the reason was non-familiarity with iodized salt 41% and that they did not know the pros and cons of its use 28%. 80% of the consumers who did not use iodized salt were willing to use iodized salt, if possible.
Teachers and Students
97% of teachers and 73% of students were aware of the iodized salt campaign. When asked about the benefits of eating iodized salt, 90% of teachers and 37% of students mentioned that it prevents goiter. 81% of teachers and 61% of students said that they requested their homes to use iodized salt. 83% of the teachers were aware of government activities on iodized salt and 78% of them were involved in these activities. 40% of students were aware and 51% of them had already undergone goiter tests at school.
Food Stalls/Restaurants and Retailers
55% of outlets used iodized salt only, 29% only non-iodized salt and 16% used both. Most of the outlets purchased salt from the wet market and 82% said that iodized salt was available at their regular shops. 50 tickles packs of iodized salt were found in 73% of the retail outlets and 44% of the retailers said that they usually recommend to their customers to use iodized salt.
21 factories produce only iodized salt and the remaining 10 produced both types of salt. 90% of annual salt production is iodized. 11 factories or 35.5% have salt with an iodine content above 30 PPM, 17 factories 54.8% had a content between 15 and 50PPM, two factories had 15 PPM and one factory with 7 PPM. Almost all of the producers were quite aware of the government's campaign and assumed themselves to be responsible in the campaign. Potassium iodate is available at Myanmar Salt and Marine Chemical Enterprise (MSMCE) but only as much as production capacity. The producers mentioned that it was distributed free of charge previously and is now sold in dollars (equivalent of kyat at market rate). Half of the respondents put forward that the production cost of iodized salt was high because of this costly input. Other factors mentioned were scarcity of crude salt by one-third of the respondents and inaccuracy of iodine content due to the lack of automatic timer machines mentioned by one fifth.
Ministry of Mines Zonal Officers
Since they are government officials, all were highly aware of the government's campaign and participated in the activities. MSMCE is supplying enough potassium iodate to the producers with the assistance of UNICEF. They may not have any problem to provide this input since MSMCE keeps stocks for the next two years. The salt producers, however, are facing problems with the price of the potassium iodate. All of the officers except one mentioned that the monitoring teams of MSMCE have regular inspection and supervision in private salt factories. According to their responses, the MSMCE has provided the training regarding the iodized salt production and lab tests and apparatus to producers. In general, the iodized salt quality control in the market is being monitored monthly by health departments with the assistance of municipality.
More cooperation is needed between the organizations and departments concerned including distribution, production and pricing of iodized salt.
Consumer survey on iodized salt should be conducted occasionally.
More educational programs are needed. Benefits of iodized salt should continually be a part of the education syllabus within the basic education system.
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Health - Micronutrients IDD