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16 August, 2011 - Gadaref Takes Major Step To Eradicating Iodine Deficiency

Endorsement of the legislation banning the use of non-iodized salt and major public information campaign gets underway

Gadaref state has taken  a critical step in efforts to eradicate iodine deficiency disorders, that in Sudan affect 142,000 new born children every year and which result in 22 per cent of the population suffering from goiter, by enacting and enforcing the legislation that ban the use of non- iodized salt.

To coincide with the announcing of the legislation, a major public information and advocacy campaign will be launched, led by the Ministry of Health with the support of UNICEF. The 2010 Sudan Household Health Survey found that only 9.5 per cent of households consumed iodised salt, despite the known benefits of iodine in reducing brain damage amongst newborn children, physical stunting, mental retardation and goitre. The information campaign will bring the message “Iodised salt for a better life” into Sudanese households through the use of posters, leaflets and mass media

Speaking on the day of  launch, UNICEF Deputy Representative, Ray Torres  said “This project is a heartening example of partnership between government, the UN and the private sector that will serve the best interests of the people of Sudan.

UNICEF Deputy Representative, Ray Torres pointed to the importance of increasing consumption of iodised salt, noting “Iodine deficiencies cause social limitations as well as physical impairments; lack of iodine can result in a reduction in a child’s IQ by 15 points, while goitre is known to reduce productivity amongst sufferers of up to 15 per cent.”

“We firmly believe that legislation must be enacted to ban the sale of non-iodised salt and a strategy put in place to improve standards and marketing of the iodised product,” said Ray Torres. “The government has made a clear commitment to eradicating iodine deficiency through its national plans, but we need to work together to turn this commitment into action.”

“A quarter of children born in Sudan will not reach their full education potential because of iodine deficiencies,” said  “This is a social and economic cost that Sudan cannot afford.”

The combined strategy of increasing production of iodised salt and extensive marketing and awareness-raising amongst consumers hopes to increase consumption levels to over 90 per cent by the end of 2012. 

Notes for editors

  • The total salt requirement in Sudan is estimated at 165,000 metric tones per year.
  • The bulk of salt produced in Sudan comes from solar evaporation of Red Sea brine.
  • Despite the 2003 Decree issued under the 1975 Public Health Law, only one salt plant has to date produced iodised salt, with an annual output of just 3,000 tonnes.
  • The Port Sudan plant has been provided with production equipment and potassium iodate supplies by WFP.
  • To date, four states that have banned the sale of non-iodised salt is South Darfur, in 2005, Sinnar, West Darfur, 2009 and Kassala, 2011.
  • A “Universal Salt Iodisation” plan was agreed upon by the Sudanese National Nutrition Directorate in 2005, which sets out to eliminate iodine deficiency disorders by the year 2015, and increase consumption of iodised salt to 90 per cent by the end of 2009.
  • A partnership agreement was signed in 2007 between the Federal Ministry of Health, Ministry of Industry, UNICEF, WFP and the Micronutrient Initiative that establishes overall responsibility for coordination, management, and quality control of iodised salt production with the Ministry of Health, private sector liaison with the Ministry of Industry, iodised salt production with WFP and the Micronutrient Initiative, and social mobilization, marketing and advocacy with UNICEF.



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