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Ukraine can prevent an intellectual catastrophe with the help of salt

Mass use of iodine salt by households and in food industry can compensate natural iodine deficiency and save Ukrainians' intellect, scientists emphasize. Procrastination inflicts losses in the nation's gene pool and the economy.
Participants of the field-oriented international seminar that took place on 23 September in Kyiv within the framework of the Fourth National Congress on Bioethics agreed that it is necessary to have mass use of iodine salt in Ukraine as a generally available and effective means for overcoming iodine deficiency.

“Ukraine does not have the right to procrastinate on making a decision regarding mass iodine deficiency prevention”, stated Yuriy Kundiyev, Vice-President of the National Academy of Medical Sciences.

Representing the nation's different regions, Ukrainian scientists confirmed in their reports that a serious iodine deficiency exists in the country which inevitably entails degradation of the society. The international medicine recognizes that a continuous iodine deficiency leads to a loss of 10-15 IQ points, mental retardation or even infantile hypothyroidism, as well as to an increase in morbidity and a decrease in work capacity.

Such way, today the Ukrainian society is losing its intellectual, professional and educational potential. Scientists already record absence of children with better-than-average intellect and an increase in the number of children with low and very low intellect in the regions with evident iodine deficiency.

“The right for full-fledged development and health is every child's integral right. And iodine is necessary for that”, emphasized in his speech Professor Michael Zimmerman (Switzerland), Member of the Board of Directors of the International Council for the Control of Iodine Deficiency (ICCIDD). He provided the results of the researches of the international medicine that confirm the danger of the situation in Ukraine.

If iodine deficiency remains uncompensated, every year Ukraine will have to open several new schools for children with impaired mental development and the economy will lose tens of millions of dollars due to a decline in labour productivity.

At the same time, Ukraine and Russia remain the only countries on the CIS space that do not implement system programmes for overcoming iodine deficiency, thereby putting their nations' intellect and standard of living at risk. While, for example, Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan already eliminated this problem completely and the remainder of the countries take necessary measures to achieve that goal. Professor Frits van der Haar (U.S.A.), Member of the Board of Directors of ICCIDD, reminded about this.

He also drew attention to that people in post-industrial countries consume a significant amount of salt not with their home-made food, but rather with technologically processed products. The share of such products reaches 75 per cent in developed countries. Therefore, it is extremely important for Ukraine to have mass use of iodine-enriched salt not only by households, but in the food industry and public catering outlets too.

“Expenses for overcoming iodine deficiency represent the best investment in the future of your children and your country”, emphasized Frits van der Haar.

The United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) in Ukraine welcomes efforts of socially active business in this direction and provides consultative support on practical application of social marketing methods, promotion of new brands, conducting effective advertising campaigns and ensuring steady sales of iodine salt.

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About UNICEF: The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) is the world’s leader for children, working on the ground in 150 countries to help children survive and thrive, from early childhood through adolescence. UNICEF is funded entirely by the voluntary contributions of individuals, businesses, foundations and governments. UNICEF opened its office in Kyiv in 1997.

For further information please contact: Olena Trush, Nutrition Officer, UNICEF Ukraine, tel:  + 38.044.254.2450, e-mail: otrush@unicef.org

 

 
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