Ho, April 20 GNA - The consumption of iodised salt by both humans and animals is to become the norm in Ghana by 2005 as part of the Universal Salt Iodisation (USI) programme, Mr Jacob G. Armah, Manager of the National Iodine Deficiency Disorders (IDD) Control Programme said on Tuesday.
He said the national household consumption of the commodity would be increased from the present 50 percent to 60 percent by the target date. Mr Armah was addressing a day's trainer of trainers' workshop on the promotion of iodised salt consumption in schools and communities in selected districts in the Volta Region in Ho.
He said the programme would focus on increasing iodised salt consumption from 10 percent to 80 percent in Volta, Upper East, Northern and Eastern regions due to their low consumption of the commodity. According to surveys conducted by the Demographic Health and Ministry of Health/Ghana Health Service (GHS), there had been "a slow but steady increase from 28 percent in 1998 to an average of 50 percent in 2002" in the consumption of the commodity.
It said "although consumption of the commodity has increased gradually over the years the national average is still far below 90 percent, the least acceptable level of adequacy".
This situation according to the Ghana Education Service (GES) necessitated joint efforts by the Service, GHS, UNICEF and UNILEVER (GH) Limited to develop a school programme for the promotion of the consumption of iodised salt.
Mrs Mary Quaye, of the National School Health Education Programme (SHEP), said iodine deficiency had a negative effect on the intelligent quotient of pupils, mental retardation, cretinism and reduced productivity among others.
Mr Moses Cofie, Business Manager for Popular Foods of Unilever said their collaboration venture was to address the problem of micronutrients deficiencies in the country.
Mr Samuel Donkor Gyang, Volta Regional Director of Education urged participants to take the training seriously adding that, "if the bodies of learners are healthy, then their minds will be receptive to learning".
Participants included, District Co-ordinating Directors, District SHEP officers, District Nutrition and Public Health Officers and District Training Officers of GES. 20 April 04