Press Centre 2008/06/04: Health

Speakers at the launch of the campaign

© UNICEF Turkey 2008

Iodised Salt logo © UNICEF Turkey 2003

Logo designed to emphasise iodised salt content and its benefits on packaging. The byline reads: For healthy and clever generations — use iodised salt.

A pinch of iodised salt!

A campaign has been launched in Turkey to eliminate the negative consequences of insufficient iodine intake.

The Ministry of Health (MOH), UNICEF and salt producers launched the national campaign to tackle iodine deficiency disorders (IDD) — one of Turkey’s most outstanding challenges in the field of public health — at a press conference in Ankara on May 28.

Insufficient iodine intake is a major cause of goitre, mental retardation, deafness, strabismus (a deviated or squinted eye) and stunted growth. IDD can also cause miscarriages, still births and increased infant mortality rates. About a quarter of the World’s population is threatened by IDD — the most efficient remedy for which is the use of iodised salt.

In Turkey, all salt intended for household consumption must be iodised by law. Nevertheless, 27% of low–income families living in rural areas and poor urban districts continue to use non–iodised salt.

Mobilising society

The Iodine Deficiency Disorders and Salt Iodisation Programme Campaign, aims to increase public awareness of the issue and ensure that 95% of families are using iodised salt.

Focusing on low–income households, the campaign will seek to mobilise society in several ways:

  • School children will be informed about the importance of using iodised salt and encouraged to pass the message on to their families.
  • Special field trips will be arranged for agricultural engineers and home economists to inform communites in hard–to–reach rural areas.
  • Village and neighbourhood muhtars, preachers and imams will be invited to assist in delivering the right messages to their communities.

The Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs and the Ministry of National Education will work together with the MOH, UNICEF and salt producers on the campaign. Since the participation of salt producers is critical to the campaign’s success, manufacturers will be evaluated and inspected regularly by the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs. Special priority will be given to the provinces of Bitlis, Çorum, Diyarbakır, Hatay, Kahramanmaraş, Kırşehir, Sivas, Siirt and Van.

Intellectual development

Speaking at the press conference, Director General of Mother and Child Health, Dr. M. Rıfat Köse pointed out that:

The soil of our country has been used for many years and it is deficient in micronutritients like iron, zinc and selenium. So it is essential that people use iodised salt in order to ensure that their daily iodine needs are met.

UNICEF Turkey Deputy Representative Lila Pieters emphasised the importance oif iodised salt to the intellectual development of children:

A pinch of salt is much more important than we would think. It means a healthier and more intelligent society. Women and children especially must use iodised salt becase children who take iodised salt understand and are educated more easily, and are more productive at school and later in their working lives. Iodised salt increases IQ by about 13.5 points.

For further information contact:
Canan Sargın, Health Programme Officer, UNICEF Turkey, +90 (0)312 454 1000

Iodised Salt: Clever Salt! For your children’s healthy development and success at school use iodised salt

© UNICEF Turkey 2005

This poster was produced by UNICEF and the MOH to promote nationwide iodised salt usage in Turkey. Print-optimised versions are available for download in the following standard formats [PDF 520KB approx.]:

The artwork is supplied free for the promotion of iodised salt usage provided that it is not altered in any way, shape or form or that it used in any way other than its intended purpose.

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