Elimination of iodine deficiency disorders
Strategy of the universal salt iodisation was recommended by WHO, UNICEF and the International Council for Control of Iodine Deficiency Disorders (ICCIDD) as a major strategy for sustainable and long-term elimination of iodine deficiency disorders. Unfortunately, until now Ukraine does not have approved policy, legislation and action plan on elimination of iodine deficiency disorders and protection of the next generations from intellectual degradation.
UNICEF supports the Government of Ukraine in addressing the issue of iodine deficiency elimination and provides technical, financial and expert assistance.
In 2004 the UNICEF Mission provided to the Government of Ukraine assistance in analyzing potential damage of iodine deficiency for loss of the future productivity and in evaluating universal salt iodization advantages. Leading scientists in Ukraine calculated economic losses of the country caused by iodine deficiency and came up with about 44 millions dollars every year. Investment in the Iodine Deficiency Prevention Programme and elimination of this problem will allow reimbursing to the budget up to 80% of financial resources lost as a result of productivity decrease.
Ukraine is one of the major salt producers in Europe. Ukrainian plants produce every year up to 100 000 tons of appropriately iodized salt and have enough potential to fully meet the demand of the country. Unfortunately, only 30% of the iodized salt is supplied to the local market, the majority of the products are exported to the neighbouring countries. During 2004-2009 UNICEF facilitated information of the population about benefits of iodized salt consumption and supported implementation of the social marketing campaign in Lviv, Cherkassy, Kiev, Vinnitsa, Kirovograd, Poltava, Summy, Lugansk and Donetsk oblasts.
Unluckily, various business interests related to promotion of iodine-containing preparations in the pharmaceutical market in the county is the only reason why health care specialists have not yet supported adoption of the law on universal salt iodization.
The problem may be solved only by comprehensive approach of all stakeholders, namely the Ministry of Health Care, the Ministry of Agrarian Policy, the Academy of Medical Sciences, private sector, non-governmental and international organisations. Only adoption of the law may create a framework for development and implementation of comprehensive mechanisms for programme management and monitoring of the situation in the long-term and sustainable perspective.