68% Ghanaians not consuming iodated salt – UNICEF
Speaking at a two-day Media Workshop on “Ethical Reporting on Children”, she said 68% of Ghanaians also do not consume sea foods, a major source of iodine, irrespective of massive campaign on the need for people to consume enough iodine.
Ms Ofosu-Appeah said the latest Multi Indicator Cluster Survey (MICS) by UNICEF shows that only people in the Brong-Ahafo Region attained the recommended level of iodine in their systems.
She said iodine deficiency could cause mental retardation, goiter, still births, miscarriage and physical sluggishness resulting in weak workforce and called on the public to start demanding for iodated salt.
Ms Ofosu-Appeah said the situation could be worrying for children, pregnant women and adults and described it as a “public health problem”.
She said the unfortunate thing was that many salt traders and consumers do not know the difference between salts that have iodine and those that do not.
Ms Ofosu-Appeah therefore called on Environmental Health and Sanitation Department to apply for iodine test kits from the Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition (GAIN) for distribution among market women for use in testing the salt they sell.
Mr Affail Monney, Vice President of the Ghana Journalists Association (GJA), urged the media to use the power of the pen and voice to “shape the bright future of children.”
He said many people were fond of criticizing the media for “professional sins” but none was prepared to help build the capacity of media practitioners and commended UNICEF for its “qualitative investment” in the media.
Nana Yaw, Ashanti Regional GJA Chairman, appealed to UNICEF to help create children’s desks in newsrooms to encourage the championing of children’s issues.