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Hanoi, 24 August 2006 – Viet Nam has achieved the international goal on elimination of iodine deficiency by 2005– the Ministry of Health announced today at the Ten Years Review Symposium of the National Programme on Iodine Deficiency Disorders Control in Hanoi.

The Programme was launched in 1993 to eliminate iodine deficiency in the country - a major public health problem at the time. Over the last ten years, the Programme has realized great results. The proportion of households consuming adequately iodized salt has increased from 25 per cent in 1993 to 93.2 per cent in 2005 (the international goal is greater than 90 per cent). The medium value of urine iodine level has increased from 3.2 (a rate which is substantially below the cut-off point of 10) to 12.2 mcg/dl during the same period. Today, Vietnam is the second country in the East Asia and the Pacific Region to reach the goal.

Iodine Deficiency Disorders (IDD) threatens human and economic development of nations.  While the worst cases of iodine deficiency can cause severe mental retardation, such as cretinism, even mild iodine deficiency can result in a significant loss in learning ability. Other effects include increased risk of stillbirth, miscarriage, and goiter for women and learning difficulties for children. 
Salt iodization is the most logical and effective solution to IDD because salt is consumed by everyone, and is iodized salt is safe, sustainable and inexpensive. Eliminating IDD through routine use of iodized salt is a key component of UNICEF’s mission to ensure that every child has the opportunity to survive, develop and achieve his/her developmental potential.

Over the years, UNICEF has provided considerable assistance for the program, including essential equipment and supplies for salt iodization and laboratories, technical support, staff development, and communication.

“Reaching the International goal on elimination of iodine deficiency is a great success. The ingredients for the success in Viet Nam include government commitment, and presence of dedicated staff at national and sub-national levels. From today, the challenge for Vietnam is how to sustain the achievements of the program and ensure that future generations are protected from the damaging effects of iodine deficiency.  We need continued government commitment and stronger multipsectoral partnership, said Jesper Morch, UNICEF Representative in Viet Nam at the Symposium. ”UNICEF remains committed to prevention and control of all forms of under-nutrition in Vietnam and will therefore continue to support the Government of Viet Nam to sustain the  achievements in IDD elimination beyond 2005”, he continued.

An action plan for the period of 2006-2010 will be developed during the Symposium to ensure the sustainable elimination of iodine deficiency disorders in Viet Nam.

For more information please contact

Caroline den Dulk (Ms), Communication Section, UNICEF Viet Nam
Tel: + 844 942 5706, Mobile: 84 91 4756592

Jama Gulaid (Mr), Health & Nutrition Section, UNICEF Viet Nam
Tel: (84-4) 9425706-11, Ext. 212 Fax: (84-4) 9425705. E-mail :





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