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News note

Turkmenistan achieves Universal Salt Iodization

ASHGABAT, TURKMENISTAN, 1 November 2004 – UNICEF Regional Director Maria Calivis arrived in Turkmenistan today to congratulate the government on the country’s achievement of universal salt iodisation (USI).  

She presented Turkmenistan with an award on behalf of UNICEF, the World Health Organisation (WHO) and the International Council for Control of Iodine Deficiency Disorders (ICCIDD) in recognition of this achievement.

Commenting on the award, Calivis, who is UNICEF Regional Director for Central and Eastern Europe, the Commonwealth of Independent States and the Baltics, said:

“USI is the most effective way to protect children from iodine deficiency – the world’s leading cause of preventable mental retardation and brain damage. So this award is a major milestone for Turkmenistan. This is the first country in Central Asia to reach this target.”

Turkmenistan’s USI campaign began more than a decade ago and included a 1996 decree to enforce the use of iodised salt. The aim has been to protect the entire population of 4.8 million against iodine deficiency. UNICEF, which this year celebrates ten years of work in Turkmenistan, has provided technical support to the campaign, while the US government has donated more than $200,000 to the national USI programme.

For further information, please contact:

Brian Hansford, UNICEF Ashgabat: (+99312) 425681, e-mail: bhansford@unicef.org
Angela Hawke, UNICEF Regional Office for CEE/CIS and Baltics: (+4122) 909 5433, e-mail: ahawke@unicef.org




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