Iodine Global Network (IGN)

Pakistan calls for legislation to combat IDD

Speakers at a workshop on Friday urged Pakistani authorities to develop proper legislation to ensure 100 per cent usage of iodized salt in the country. The "Media Advocacy Workshop on Salt Iodization" was organized by The Network for Consumer Protection with the support of UNICEF. Journalists representing various print and electronic and social media organisations participated in the event. The absence of law and lack of quality control measures on the part of authorities concerned, and absence of legislation making iodization salt mandatory are among the major factors leading to low production and consumption of iodized salt.

In her opening remarks, health expert Dr Maria Qureshi said that one only needs a teaspoonful for life, or 150 micrograms daily costing less a than 100 rupees. "Yet it is not unsurprising that over half of Pakistan's population is thought to be at risk of developing IDDs, particularly pregnant mothers and children. A large number of children annually are born mentally retarded due to this deficiency among pregnant women," she added.

The reported use of iodised salt for cooking purposes, she said quoting the National Nutrition Survey, 2011, was 39.8 percent across Pakistan whereas only 64.2 percent mothers showed awareness about the iodised salt. Statistics indicate that IDD also stands in their way of achieving the MDGs especially 1, 2, 4 and 5, to which Pakistan is a signatory.