Mr. Yaw Acheampong Kankam, Managing Director of Hakama Company Limited, producers of Hawa and Amina Iodated Salt, has appealed to Ghanaians to support the company as it planned to embark on a national salt iodization programme.
He said this would enable the company and other dealers to buy salt from small salt producers across the country and fortify it with iodine and iron to make it more wholesome.
Mr. Kankam in an interview with GNA in Kumasi, said fortification of salt had faced many set backs in Ghana over the years because there was no clear cut and coherent efforts to institute a national policy that would ensure that salt produced in the country was iodized.
Mr. Kankam said these had given rise to iron deficiency and anaemia rendering most Ghanaians susceptible to infections and risk to maternal death during pregnancy and child birth.
He cited that survey carried out by the Ministry of Health and University of Ghana in 1994 indicated that 33 per cent of the districts in the country had serious iron deficiency disease problems that needed urgent attention and the remaining 67 per cent of the district have moderate to mild iron deficiency diseases conditions.
Mr. Kankam said another survey by the two institutions indicated the prevalence of goiter, iodine deficient condition of 56.4 per cent in the Upper West Region, 56.5 per cent in the Upper East Region, 27.2 per cent in the Northern Region, 18.8 per cent in the Ashanti Region and 26.8 per cent in the Brong Ahafo Region, adding that these statistics were clear indication of low intelligent quotient levels of school children.
He said iodine was essential component of thyroid hormone, a substance that contribute to brain development in the fetus and regulates human metabolism.
Mr. Kankam said that iodine deficiency was the greatest cause of preventable mental retardation in the world.
He said other related disorders as a result of iron deficiency included lethargy, physical disabilities, still births, neonatal deaths, goiter, among others.
Mr. Kankam called for systematic planning to reverse the trend by making fortified salt affordable to vulnerable groups since anaemia due to iron deficiency led to reduction in work capacity and lower productivity among adults.
He said the company has been able to secure a three-million Euro credit facility from Serra, a Spanish salt manufacturing company, to support the salt iodization programme.
He under the programme, the company would produce iodized salt for iodine deficiency disorder, double fortified salt to ensure fortification of salt with iron and iodine as well as salt lick for livestock production.
Mr. Kankam said the project would enable the country to reduce child mortality, improve maternal health and enhance development of the livestock industry.