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General News of Monday, 24 November 2008

Source: GNA

Ghana falls in household consumption of iodated salt

Koforidua, (E/R) Nov. 24, GNA - Ghana has dropped from 74 to 32 percent in household consumption of iodated salt sending a worrying signal that more needs to be done to deal with iodine deficiency disorders, especially among children.

In 2005, a survey indicated a 74 per cent household consumption of iodated salt, the highest in nine years, but this figure has since dropped well below 50 per cent.

This came to light during discussions at a workshop to review the country's Universal Salt Iodization (USI) national programme held in Koforidua, in the Eastern Region.

The workshop was attended by representatives from UNICEF, Ministries of Health, Local Government, Rural Development and Environment and other stakeholders to scale up efforts to iodize all salt to address iodine deficiency disorders for the next three years. Mr P.V. Obeng of the Ningo Salt Company, in the Greater Accra Region, said it was important to speed up the process of ensuring that all salt for consumption was iodized.

He said with the discovery of oil, the demand for salt would go up because salt was used in the petroleum sector, in oil refinery, production and storage.

Mr Obeng said with the production of more salt it would be difficult to separate salt meant for human consumption and un-iodized raw salt for industrial purposes.

Mr Jacob Armah, Head of Nutrition, Ghana Health Service, said there were problems with enforcement of the law and the monitoring of salt producers, especially those in the cottage industry. Under Act 523, 1996, it is compulsory to iodize all salt produced, sold or distributed for human or animal consumption. Lack of adequate iodine brings on a lot of health implication, including goiter and miscarriage and poor learning ability among children.