Media centre



Project Proposals

Press releases 2017

Press releases 2016









Pro-Children Media Club


March 2005: Building a National Alliance towards Micronutrient Deficiency Elimination

The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) commits to support the efforts underway to eliminate micronutrient deficiency in Kyrgyzstan. To assist developing a five year National plan of action, UNICEF specialist Frits van der Haar, Associate Professor at the Rollins School of Public Health, Emory University of Atlanta, USA, has arrived to Bishkek this week.

He will work with Kyrgyz specialists from the Government and non-governmental organizations, private businesses, scientific institutions and media during a two-day workshop on 3-4 March 2005. The multisectoral group will study the findings of the Micronutrient Deficiency Damage Assessment Report for Kyrgyzstan, world best experiences and known solutions, and develop the draft national plan of action to be presented to the decision makers and the public a week later.

The Plan would integrate the key micronutrient areas of concern – iodine, vitamin A and folic acid deficiencies as well as iron deficiency anemia. 

According to the Micronutrient Deficiency Damage Assessment Report, lack of key vitamins and minerals which has been known to cause anaemia, cretinism, blindness, and goitre that affect many millions of the world’s people is just the tip of the iceberg. “Even slight iodine deficiency can reduce mental capacity, learning and work potential. In pregnancy, it causes babies to be born dead, physically disabled, or with severe brain damage. Vitamin A deficiency damages immune systems so that illness is more common and more severe, increasing under-five death rates by up to a third. Folate deficiency before and during early pregnancy is a major cause of serious birth defects, including infantile paralysis. Lack of folate also causes anaemia and is strongly suspected of increasing the risk of death from heart disease and stroke. Iron deficiency reduces activity levels and productivity in whole populations. In children 6 to 24 months, it disrupts the normal development of the brain. Effects on children include stunting, sickliness, poor school attendance, and lower levels of concentration and memory. Severe anaemia also causes higher death rates during pregnancy and childbirth.” The Kyrgyzstan Damage Report estimates the cost from these combined effects to be as high as 1% of GDP – almost 1 billion soms.

The coming Kyrgyz National Plan of Action is to ensure that all the main players understand and realize their roles towards its implementation. In stead of making huge investments in  diagnostics and treatments that in most cases would not solve problems, Kyrgyzstan needs to make changes in the food supply so that people eat more healthy and more nutritious food and by doing so, prevent the micronutrient deficiencies. This problem has effective, inexpensive and simple technological solutions which undeniably help to reduce rates of maternity and child deaths, increase working productivity and learning abilities at schools, and put a foundation for increased economic and social development of the country.



 Email this article

unite for children