‘Household access to iodised salt in Gambia is 23%’
Thursday, July 19, 2012
The household access to iodised salt in The Gambia is only 23% percent, whilst a change in nutrition status led to increased iodine deficiency disorders in children and women of reproductive age, the principal programme officer of the National Nutrition Agency (NaNA) has disclosed.
Malang Fofana, who stepped in for his Agency’s executive director, made these remarks during a two-day media meeting on monitoring and evaluation to enforce Universal Salt Iodization (USI) and Iodine Deficiency Disorders (IDD)? legislation in The Gambia. The meeting that ended on Tuesday at the NaNA headquarters in Bakau brought together media personnel from both print and electronic media with the aim of evaluating and enforcing USI and IDD legislation in The Gambia.
While noting that The Gambia falls within the regions where IDDs are serious medical and social problems, Fofana lamented that economic decline has caused deterioration of nutrition status in the country. “Current micronutrient deficiencies,” he added, “could be a reason for not attaining the Millennium Development Goals 1, 4, and 5.”
on achievements, NaNA’s programme officer underscored that prevalence of IDDs
has a tendency to decrease, while noting that the population’s knowledge on it
has improved compared to previous years. “Legislative basis on iodised salt
provision to population is strengthened; monitoring system of iodised salt
production is being planned; and a national survey on IDDs is being planned in
The Gambia,” Fofana added.
the IDDs problems at a global level, Fofana disclosed that more than 1.5
billion of world population has a risk of lacking iodine. The World Health
Organisation (WHO), he added, estimates that more than 655 million people have
IDDs, with 43 million people suffering from brain disorders and mental
retardation caused by iodine deficiency.
Expressing similar sentiments at the programme, the International Council for Control of Iodine Deficiency Disorders (ICCIDD) regional coordinator for West and Central Africa, Dr. John Egbuta stressed that it is the duty of the government regulatory agencies to enforce the legislation on iodised salt.
villages and towns found to have an inadequate proportion of households using
iodised salt may need an assessment to identity reasons for the inadequacy. He
noted that in some settings, monitoring salt in the household may be difficult
and therefore monitoring salt in the market may be an alternative.
Unicef’s Mathew Baldeh, for his part, told the media practitioners that his office has been partnering with NaNA to eliminate IDDs in The Gambia. While reiterating that only 23% household uses iodine salt in The Gambia, Baldeh said it is important for the population to use iodine salt.
Author: Arfang Camara