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A special class on the benefits of iodized salt consumption took place in all schools in Republic of Moldova

  • Child intellectual losses and health problems provoked by the lack of iodine in food keeps determining the Moldovan authorities to undertake strong actions in this regard

   Chisinau, 11 November 2008 – A special class “Hour of iodized salt” took place on November, 11th in all schools from Republic of Moldova. About 140,000 children learned more about the benefits of iodized salt consumption for the health, how to keep and how to use correctly iodized salt in food. The activity was carried out by the Moldovan 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 during the class an informative leaflet and a book sign developed in a friendly and easy-to-remember manner. The materials include a detachable card designed for parents. “We would like that this way the information reaches not only children, but also their parents, and thus we would increase the number of families who know about the benefits of iodized salt consumption and apply this knowledge in practice”, mentioned 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. “We decided to organize such a class in schools, because in the latest years the morbidity from cancer and diseases of the thyroid gland, in particular of children and teenagers is in steady increase, being related to insufficiency of iodine. The same reason increases the risks for the pregnancy and new-born child, the mental retard, the retentions in physical development of children and other health problems”, added Mr. 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, while in 2000 only 32% of Moldovans consumed iodine-treated salt, in 2005 this number doubled, reaching 59.8%.

  “For the intellectual losses and the health problems of children provoked by lack of iodine in food to disappear, it is necessary that 90% of the country’s population consumes iodine-treated salt. The states that reached this indicator, fully eradicated the problem”, mention the Coordinator of Equal Access to Quality Services Program within UNICEF Moldova, Svetlana Stefanet. “Daily consumption of iodized salt is the cheapest and the most efficient way to avoid deficiencies in development, which showed brilliant results in countries such as Macedonia, Armenia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Serbia etc, countries that definitively eliminated iodine deficiency”, added Svetlana Stefanet.

  Iodine deficiency is the primary cause of preventable mental retardation and brain damage, having the most devastating impact on the brain of the developing fetus and young children in the first few years of life. Iodine deficiency also increases the chance of infant mortality, of problems during the pregnancy, and even miscarriage.

  In Moldova, a country where soil and water is poor in iodine, promotion of iodized 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.

  In this regard, the Government approved the National Program on eradication of health problems caused by iodine deficiency until 2010. The document provides import of only iodized salt starting with 1 March 2007, increasing the rate of families that use iodized salt up to 90% and extend the use of iodized salt in all branches of food industry starting with 2009.

   Currently, the Institute of Food Technologies together with UNICEF tests the possibility of using iodine-treated salt in production of canned food and cheeses.

  For more information:

  Varfolomei Calmic,
  Deputy Director of the National Scientific-Practical Centre of Preventive Medicine
  Tel: 574 505
  Mob: 069231230
  E-mail: vcalmic@sanepid.md

  Lina Botnaru, Press officer
  Tel: 269-235
  Mob: 068090111
  E-mail: lbotnaru@unicef.org

 

 
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