June 2006: Properly fortified food – a fact for life
Of 18 child deaths that happen every day in Kyrgyzstan, 10 can be prevented alone by the improved diet of the population, especially children and their mothers during pregnancy.
Kyrgyzstan is about to join the list of a growing number of countries in the world where people consume only iodized salt. It means that soon no Kyrgyzstan’s child will risk to be born and grow up with a 5% lower intellectual potential caused by an iodine deficient diet. Tangible progress is also being made in combating iron deficiency anemia: more and more mills are starting to fortify their flour to add the required vitamins and minerals in foods consumed by the general public, mothers and children in particular. This new practice will prevent the deaths of tens of women in childbirth and hundreds of infants and children every year.
How do we make sure that the foods that reach people’s tables are properly fortified and contain the required amount of iodine and iron? and What should be done to make fortification a habitual norm in the salt firms and the flour mills? These are the questions posed before the participants of a five day Workshop on Monitoring and Evaluation of Programmes on Universal Salt Iodization and Prevention of Iron Deficiency Anemia. It is organized by Kyrgyzstan’s National Fortification Alliance with support of the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) to be held in the Silk Road Lounge (Bishkek) on June 26-30, 2006.
The purpose of the workshop is to accelerate the fortification of salt and flour in Kyrgyzstan through building consensus and capacity on the roles and responsibilities of different partners, especially in programme monitoring. The workshop is designed as an informal participatory workshop drawing on the expertise represented, using small group discussions to develop ways to solve problems.
The workshop invites representatives of the public health sphere, salt industry, flour mills and bodies in charge of inspection of iodized salt and fortified flour, together with international experts in the field of public health. They will discuss methods of gathering and using various kinds of information and draft a strategic plan to improve monitoring. They will also review current and pending laws and regulations in this area and generated ideas on developing optimal regulatory actions.
The Kyrgyz National Fortification Alliance gives great importance to effective monitoring to help safeguard the progress already made, and to further improve the nutrition situation of children and women. At present, the lack of adequate amounts of vitamins and minerals in people’s diets is an underlying cause of 60% of child deaths in Kyrgyzstan. Fortifying salt with iodine and flour with a multi-mixture of vitamins and minerals means that of 18 child deaths that happen every day, 10 can be prevented alone by the improved diet of the population, especially children and their mothers during pregnancy.