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Turkmenistan strengthens impact monitoring of salt iodization and flour fortification

© UNICEF/Turkmenistan

Ashgabat, Turkmenistan, 9 June 2006 - The Ministry of Health and Medical Industry of the Government of Turkmenistan in partnership with UNICEF and USAID organised a two-day workshop on Impact Monitoring and Evaluation of Salt Iodization and Flour Fortification in Turkmenistan.

The Workshop is the second of the two workshops designed to strengthen the capacity of national specialists in monitoring the impact of micronutrient interventions in Turkmenistan. The first workshop took place in Ashgabat in October last year. 

Prof. Gregory Gerasimov, East Europe and Central Asia Region Coordinator of the International Council for Control of Iodine Deficiency Disorders and Prof. Shamil Tazhibayev of Kazakhstan Academy of Nutrition served as key resource persons at the workshop. 

“Turkmenistan is already seeing positive results since the issuance of the Presidential Decree on Salt Iodization ten years ago, with most of households using iodized salt and with school children having optimal level of iodine nutrition.  This is a very good example for other Central Asian countries to follow,” said Prof. Tazhibayev. 

Iodine is one of the micronutrients necessary for brain as well as physical development of children. UNICEF, through its Programme of Cooperation with the Government of Turkmenistan supports micronutrients projects in order to eliminate iron and iodine deficiency among children and women in the country.

In April 2006, the President signed another decree mandating fortification of flour with folic acid and other micronutrients.  To date, almost 80 per cent or approximately 450,000 metric tons of flour is fortified. 

“With the issuance of the Presidential decree the Government of Turkmenistan has expressed its political will to mobilize different ministries and agencies to work united for achieving the Universal Flour Fortification target, which will undoubtedly contribute to further reduction of anaemia among women and children of Turkmenistan,” said Mahboob Shareef, UNICEF Representative, at the opening of the workshop.
A 20 per cent decrease in anaemia levels among children and women who received iron supplementation and consumed iron-fortified flour has been observed in the northern province of Dashoguz.

The Workshop will enable health specialists to monitor the impact of flour fortification and build a comprehensive monitoring system that will ensure elimination of iodine deficiency disorders.

“The Workshop will enable health specialists in this country to monitor the impact of Flour Fortification Decree, recently issued by the Government,” Prof. Tazhibayev added.

The Workshop will contribute to building a comprehensive monitoring system that will ensure elimination of iodine deficiency disorders. 

For more information please contact:

Dr. Ayadil Saparbekov
UNICEF Health and Nutrition Officer
Phone: +99312 425681/82/86/86
Fax: +99312 420830

Ms. Gulyalek Soltanova
UNICEF Communication Officer
Phone: +99312 425681/82/86/86
Fax: +99312 420830



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