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NNC-ARMM to address iodine deficiency disorder

Cotabato City – The Department of Health’s Regional Nutrition Committee (DOH-RNC) of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) will soon launch the Regional Bantay Asin Task Force (RBATF) to implement and monitor the National Salt Iodization Program of the national government as discussed in a forum held in Cotabato City.

RBATF Coordinator Celia Sagaral said a regional core team will be created to effect the implementation of the program following positive response and support to the health program from partner agencies in a provincial form held recently in Zamboanga City, participated-in by RNC focal persons from the island-provinces of Basilan, Sulu and Tawi-tawi.

“There is a need to strengthen the awareness campaign on the prevention of Iodine Deficiency Disorders (IDD) through use and consumption of iodized salt instead of our coarse salts,” Sagaral said.

Iodine, a mineral that is an essential component of thyroid hormones is vital in the development of the brain and central nervous system.

Iodine deficiency results to hypothyroidism or the common enlargement of the thyroid known as goiter.

In the 2008 National Nutrition Survey by the Foods and Nutrition Research Institute (FNRI), 19.7 percent of Filipino children fall low on Urinary Iodine Excretion (UIE) level which is indicative of a public health problem.

Ironically, ARMM ranks fifth in IDD, despite abundance in aquamarine resources such as seaweeds and other sea foods.

“The RBATF as supported by Republic Act 8172 known as the Asin Law will reinforce the campaign for consumers to utilize iodize salt while encouraging local producers to include iodine in their produce,” said Sagaral.

Engaging government line agencies --- the Departments of Trade and Industry (DTI), Science and Technology, the Interior and Local Government, Social Welfare and Development, Education and Philippine Ports Authority (PPA)---will enable RBATF to monitor and regulate the local supplies.

Joining DOH-RNC in promoting iodized salt, are the health advocates from the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) who will provide inputs as to the qualitative advantage of iodine-based products.

A joint RBATF assembly is expected to formally launch and establish a fully operational task forc to be spearheaded by the regional government and the regional nutrition council of DOH-ARMM.(Bureau of Public Information-ARMM)



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