Mr David Oppong, National Co-ordinator of the President's Special Initiative on Salt, yesterday said Ghana must intensify its universal salt iodisation campaign to engender confidence in the quality of salt produced.
He said this would enable the country, which had the potential to supply salt to the West Africa Sub-Region and beyond, to fully explore this opportunity as a means to diversifying the export base of the economy.
Mr Oppong made these remarks when the United Nations International Children's Emergency Fund (UNICEF) presented 10 Yamaha motorbikes, worth 250 million cedis to the National Disaster Management Organisation (NADMO) in Accra. The motorbikes would be distributed to NADMO officers in 10 salt producing districts to enable them to promote the consumption of iodised salt.
He commended UNICEF for supporting the campaign to reduce Iodine Deficiency Disorders (IDD). Ms Dorothy Rozga, UNICEF Country Representative, said UNICEF was not happy that more than 120,000 children were born annually with intellectual impairment due to iodine deficiency in pregnancy.
She said it was against this backdrop that UNICEF was collaborating with NADMO to establish a relationship and foster trust towards the iodisation programme and identify cultural practices and beliefs preventing its consumption.
Mr Isaac Amoo, Co-ordinator of NADMO, said the issue of iodine consumption should be taken seriously adding that Ghana wanted children with high IQ levels who would make intelligent choices. He said the Organisation was happy to support the programme with its personnel and tasked the media to create awareness on the impact of IDD on health.
Mr Jacob Armah, Head of Nutrition of the Ghana Health Service, expressed the hope that consumption of iodised salt would increase from the current figure of 74 per cent to more than 90 per cent, especially within the Central, Greater Accra and Volta Regions.