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February 18, 2015

Seminar calls for raising awareness about iodine deficiency


February 18, 2015

PESHAWAR: The members of the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Assembly Tuesday called for raising awareness among the people about the diseases caused by iodine deficiency.
They were speaking at a seminar titled “Universal Salt Iodisation Programme and Challenges on Regulatory Framework” arranged here.
Senior Minister Shahram Khan Tarakai, who also holds the portfolio of Health, was the chief guest on the occasion.
The seminar was organised by Micronutrient Initiative (MI) Pakistan in collaboration with Department of Health Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.
Special Assistant to chief minister on social welfare Dr Mehr Taj Roghani, Members of Provincial Assembly Meraj Humayun, Bakht Baidar, Mufti Fazl Ghafoor, Munawar Khan, senior officers from the Health Department including Dr Janbaz Afridi, Dr Qaiser Ali, Dr Muhammad Ishaq, Country Director MI Dr Tausif Akhtar Janjua and National Programme Manager MI Dr Ahsanullah Khan.
In his presentation, Dr Ahsanullah said Pakistan had more than 3.5 million children under the age of five who were suffering from acute malnutrition. “These children are susceptible to infectious diseases that may cause their death,” he feared.
He said chronic malnutrition (stunting) undermined both physical and mental development of children. He added that there were more than 11 million chronically malnourished children under the age of five in the country.
Dr Ahsanullah said that globally iodine deficiency was the single most common cause of preventable mental retardation, brain damage, cretinism, reproductive failure, deaf-mutism, and other serious health problems.
He said globally 2.2 billion people that made up 38 percent of the world’s population lived in areas with iodine deficiency. “One fourth of the world’s population has iodine deficient diet. Some 1.6 billion people worldwide are at risk of Iodine Deficiency Disorder (IDD), and 300 million are believed to be intellectually impaired,” he remarked.
Dr Tausif Ahmad talked

about Universal Salt Iodisation (USI) Programme in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. He said the programme was started in 20 districts of the country in 2006 by Nutrition Wing, Ministry of Health and MI.
He said it included five districts in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. In the same year, the doctor said, USI was scaled up to 29 endemic northern districts in including 17 districts of KP.
Underscoring the need for bringing in legislation for mandatory salt iodisation, Dr Tausif said a number of Muslim countries, including Afghanistan, Saudi Arabia, Iran and others, had made laws to include iodine in salt.
He said the Sindh Assembly had made a law for salt iodisation. He urged the lawmakers of KP Assembly to make such a law in the province to protect the health of the people.

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