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24.06.2005 Regional News

Eastern Regional launches of salt iodisation programme Oda

GNA

Akim Oda, June 24, GNA - The Eastern Regional launch of the National Strategy of Universal Salt Iodisation took place at Akim Oda on Thursday, with a reminder to Ghanaians that inadequate intake of iodine was known to be the single cause of preventable brain damage. The situation, according to medical experts, eventually resulted in a range of nervous disorders such as mental impairment, speech and hearing problems and inability to walk.

Mr Yaw Barimah, the Eastern Regional Minister, said in a speech read for him that the damage caused to the brain was irreversible and led to loss in intelligence quotient (IQ) by 10 to 15 points. He said the situation prevented children from reaching their optimum mental potential and consequently perform poorly in school. ''Iodine deficiency is associated with stillbirth, neo-natal deaths and miscarriages. In adults, iodine deficiency causes goitre, loss of energy, easy tiredness and reduces productivity.'' Mr Barimah said the objective was to reach the 90 per cent target Universal Salt Iodisation recommended by the West African Consultation on Universal Salt Iodisation held in Dakar, Senegal, in October last year.

Dr Ebenezer Appiah-Denkyira, the Eastern Regional Director of Health Services, said steps should be taken to ensure that salt producers iodated the salt before they are sold. He appealed to restaurants and chop-bar keepers to show love by using the more expensive but wholesome iodated salt for their meals. Dr Appiah-Denkyera said un-iodated salt must be regarded as unwholesome for consumption and that consumption of un-iodated salt "is like consuming a potential disease and any sale must warrant the prosecution of the seller".

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