AP, Nutrition International join hands to improve iodine nutrition for pregnant women, lactating mothers

The MoU, which will remain in effect till 2025, is aimed at increasing coverage of adequately iodized salt for optimal iodine nutrition of the population with a focus on pregnant women and lactating mothers.

By Newsmeter Network  Published on  13 Dec 2022 11:24 AM GMT
AP, Nutrition International join hands to improve iodine nutrition for pregnant women, lactating mothers

Hyderabad: The Andhra Pradesh department of health, medical, and family welfare and Nutrition International on Tuesday signed a non-financial memorandum of understanding (MoU) to improve the implementation of the National Iodine Deficiency Disorders Control Programme (NIDDCP) to achieve universal salt iodization (USI) in the state.

The MoU, which will remain in effect till 2025, is aimed at increasing coverage of adequately iodized salt for optimal iodine nutrition of the population with a focus on pregnant women and lactating mothers.

What is NIDDCP?

The NIDDCP was initially implemented in the post mid-1980s in six goitre-endemic districts and was later scaled across the state. In recent years, the state government has also introduced initiatives such as salt testing by frontline workers during village health, sanitation and nutrition days and counselling beneficiaries on the benefits of iodized salt during gram sabha or local governance meetings.

Effectively implementing NIDDCP

J. Nivas, managing director of the National Health Mission, Government of AP, said, "This MoU reflects the state's continued commitment to eradicating iodine deficiency from the state and achieving USI. Through this partnership with Nutrition International, we are confident about ensuring adequate iodine nutrition for every individual across our state."

Mini Varghese, country director, India, Nutrition International, said, "Nutrition International will extend its complete support and expertise to the government of AP to strengthen the existing system to facilitate production, distribution and consumption of adequately iodized salt."

The AP state medical and health department and Nutrition International will work together to implement the national programme by conducting periodic surveys to assess the iodine nutrition status of the population through indicators such as total goitre rate, coverage of adequately iodized salt and urinary iodine concentration. It will also establish a laboratory for monitoring iodized salt and median urinary iodine excretion and ensure increased availability of adequately iodized salt.

Strengthening district and state-level committees to monitor programme implementation and generating awareness on the benefits of consuming adequately iodized salt among beneficiaries are also on the agenda.

Pointers:

· Iodine is an essential micronutrient required for normal human growth and development.

· Iodine deficiencies, due to its effect on the developing brain, can cause irreversible physical and mental damage including cretinism, abortions, stillbirth, speech and hearing impairments, and goitre.

· The AP State Iodine Deficiency Disorder Survey 2020-21, conducted by the department of health, medical, and family welfare with technical support from Nutrition International, recorded 71.9% household coverage of adequately iodized salt in the state.

· A total goitre rate of 1.8% was noticed among school-aged children.

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