LAHORE - Punjab Health Services Director General Dr Nisar Ahmed Cheema on Friday said that the health department would make sure that all the stakeholders in the future of the country are aware of the importance of Iodized salt.
Addressing media dissemination seminar Director General Health Services (DGHS) Punjab Dr Nisar Ahmad Cheema acknowledged the role and vital importance of print and electronic media in increasing the awareness in the society and urged them to disseminate the importance of micronutrients such as iodine, iron, vitamins and zinc for improved physical and mental health.
He also appreciated the efforts of the health department staff and the technical and financial assistance of Micronutrient Initiative (MI).
DG Health Services Punjab reiterated the commitment of Punjab health department for health sector’s improvement. According to him the tremendous achievement in IDD/USI program would help our children perform better in schools as the consumption of Iodized salt leads to increased intelligence among children.
“We shall also be able to control the adverse effects of iodine deficiency among pregnant women and reducing still births, abortions and other congenital anomalies among new born”, he added.
Dr Nisar also claimed that the household utilization of iodized salt had increased to 79 percent in Punjab while iodine deficiency in mothers had reduced from 37 percent to just 3 percent as depicted in National Nutrition Survey 2011.
Similarly, he said the mothers with normal level of iodine have increased from 24 percent to 64 percent and severe Iodine deficiency in children had reduced from 23 percent to 2 percent only. The children with normal level of iodine have increased from 37 percent to 64 percent, he further claimed.
National Program Manager, Micronutrient Initiative, Dr Khawaja Masuood Ahmad said that salt processors in Punjab produced approximately two-thirds of the total edible salt. He informed the participants that Universal Salt Iodization (USI) in Punjab was being implemented through targeting more than 1,050 salt processors.
He further informed that more than 700,000 mt of edible salt has been iodized during the last four years and for this purpose more than 35 metric ton Potassium Iodate (KIO3) has been provided to salt processors.
Micronutrient Initiative (MI) Pakistan Country Director Dr Tausif Akhtar Janjua also lauded the role of media and said with the joint efforts of all stakeholders including media, elected representatives, parliamentarians and civil society, Pakistan would soon achieve the goal set for USI.
The seminar was also attended by, Program Manager Food & Nutrition Punjab Dr Mahmood Ahmad, Program Manager Punjab and AJK Munawar Hussain, Muhammad Yasin, Saima Fuad and Tariq Aziz from Micronutrient Initiative.
The speakers at the moot highlighted the inmpoortance of the use of iodised salt to better health, saying that people from all walks of life should step up their endeavours to raise awareness about the use of the salt.