Iodine Global Network (IGN)

Philippines: challenges to salt iodization 20 years after ASIN law

Iodine deficiency is a “silent but tremendous” nutritional problem as it can greatly risk the health and lives of children. In the Philippines, the results 8th National Nutritional Survey (NNS) show that 8.9% of all children aged 6 to 12 years old in 2013 has Iodine Deficiency Disorder (IDD). It is lower than 2008’s 13.8%.

ASIN Law, signed as Republic Act No. 8172 in 1995 by then President Fidel V. Ramos, aims to promote the use of iodized salt to address the lack of micronutrients in the country. It also requires all salt manufacturers to iodize the salts they produce and distribute. However, after 20 years since first implemented, Dr. Amelia C Medina of the Department of Health-National Capital Region Disease Prevention and Control believes that is now the time for stakeholders to assess the program and point out the challenges it faces.

One of these challenges, Medina cited, is the monitoring of supply and distribution of adequately-iodized salt within Metro Manila.

Other challenges are as follows:

  • No established monitoring team in the many entry points of salt delivery
  • No regular supply of salt testing kits which hinders submission of LGU reports
  • Rapid testing kit only detects the presence of iodine, not quantity
  • Industrial salt is being passed as salt for human consumption because industrial salts are not required to be iodized
  • No monitoring from the regional level due to lack of manpower

According to Regional Nutrition Program Coordinator Milagros Federizo, the campaign could be intensified by the collective efforts continuously done by stakeholders such as local government units.

“We should all work together to eliminate it by pushing for strict compliance with law and ensuring that all households use adequately-iodized salt,” she emphasized.