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Ukraine needs intellectual boost. VIRNO. Parliament, doctors and business speak together

Kyiv, March 11, 2011 - UN Children's Fund (UNICEF) combines the parliament, medicine and business efforts to improve people’s intellect in Ukraine. The problem of iodine deficiency in Ukraine was sharply highlighted at the International Forum of optimal iodine consumption, which was held last week in Belgrade, Serbia. Ukraine is one of several countries and remains one of the two countries in Eastern Europe and CIS countries in which the problem of salt iodization is not resolved at the legislative level.

"We welcome that we have managed to unite the efforts of legislators for the sake of solving the problem of iodine deficiency in Ukraine, doctors and business", - said Yukie Mokuo, UNICEF Representative in Ukraine. "We call for immediate action to the active participation of all parties in order to save the country and give intelligence to the Ukrainian children a chance to grow healthy and smart," stressed Ms Mokuo.

The massive consumption of iodized salt for domestic use and in the food industry is able to compensate for the natural iodine deficiency and save the intellect of Ukrainians. Any delays cost much and damage the gene pool of the nation's economy.

Members of the legislative process and those who embody the laws of life confirmed the need to mass use of iodized salt in Ukraine as the public and effective tool for overcoming iodine deficiency.

"Belgrade forum proved the high relevance of the problem of iodine deficiency once again for Ukraine. Scientists are really upset. We also learned a lot about the problems and experience of other countries. Currently, we are working on a draft law, namely considering a mechanism that can fit the Ukrainian market of iodine enreached foods and iodized salt, without violating the rights of consumers, "said Mikhail Sokolov, MP adviser Irina Gorin.

World medicine recognized iodine deficiency as a primary cause of mental retardation and irreversible brain damage. Thus, iodine deficiency during pregnancy leads to birth of children with cretinism. Without enough iodine in the food, teenagers lose 10-15 points IQ, and adults lose in work efficiency.

"The Ministry of Health said introduction of universal iodization salt is a decisive step for elimination of iodine deficiency in Ukraine. This strategy became the basis for the development of the Concept of state program for prevention of diseases caused by iodine deficiency. However, the draft of the relevant programs have been prepared in 2007 and, unfortunately, was not approved by the Cabinet of Ministers, Chief of primary health care and family medicine, medical apparatus.

In post-industrial countries a person consumes a significant amount of salt in food not cooked by them and via the products passed the technological processing. In developed countries this figure was 75%. Therefore massive use of iodine salt not only in households but also in the food industry and catering establishments is extremely important for Ukraine.

"A few months ago we knew almost nothing about the problem of iodine deficiency. However, when we studied the research we have been shocked by the scale of the disaster in Ukraine. Therefore, without waiting to resolve the problem by the state, we decided to support the program. We are launching iodised salt under its own brand very soon," said Dmitry Tsygankov, director of trade marketing network Silpo.

Today, iodine deficiency affects about 70% of the population and according to scientific research in recent years IQ level among students has dropped essentially. Intellectual potential, which Ukraine loses annually because of iodine deficiency, would be enough for 3000 geniuses.

UN Children's Fund (UNICEF) in Ukraine welcomes the efforts of socially active business in this direction and provides advisory support on the practical application of social marketing, promoting new brands, effective advertising campaigns and ensuring the stability of sales of iodized 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. More information about UNICEF activities in Ukraine at www.unicef.org.ua

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

 

 
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