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28.03.2006 Health

Lack of iodine affecting health of children-FDB official

By GNA

Cape Coast, March 28, GNA- Mr Emmanuel Tetteh Quaye, senior regulatory officer of the Food and Drugs Board (FDB) on Tuesday expressed concern that the country was saddled with 38,000 children with severe mental retardation, and about 13,000 "cretin babies", as a result of iodine deficiency.

He stressed that the socio- economic and health implications of this could be costly to the nation, since lack of iodine also resulted in brain damage, infant mortality, goiter, deafness as well as in still-births.

Mr Quaye expressed these concerns at a day's workshop to educate and train members of the Central Region branch of the Ghana Private Road Transport Union (GPRTU) at Cape Coast, how to distinguish between iodised and non-iodised salt.

The workshop was therefore, to train them about how to test consignments of salt they transport and alert FDB about the importation of non-iodised salt into the country.

Mr. Odame-Darkwah, said it was in line with this, that a multi-faceted approach had been adopted and all stakeholders, including the police and the Customs Excise and Preventive Services (CEPS) have brought on board to facilitate the work of the Board.

He also warned food vendors that the "excessive" use of additives in the preparation of food was an offence and said the Board would always ensure that food processing, preparation, distribution and marketing were of good quality.

In his welcoming address, Mr Robert Eshun, regional chairman of the GPRTU urged the participants to take the training programme seriously and to effectively play their monitoring roles to help achieve the desired objectives.

The participants were later presented with kits for testing salt consignments.

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