Iron fortified Iodized Salt to be promoted to battle malnutrition

From a  PMO press release:

A meeting was held in the Prime Minister’s Office on the promotion of consumption of Iron fortified Iodized Salt as a measure to deal with malnutrition in the country. The meeting held on 18.4.2011 was chaired by the Principal Secretary to the Prime Minister and was attended by the officers of Ministries of Health, Women and Child Development, Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion, Director of National Institute of Nutrition and a Member of the Prime Minister’s National Council on India’s Nutrition Challenges. 

The following points were noted and discussed : 

i. The prevalence of anaemia in majority of India’s population, particularly among adolescent girls, women and children, is a major public health challenge and it should be tackled urgently. Anaemia is caused by inadequate intake and poor absorption of iron. Anaemia can be prevented and cured by promoting consumption of iron rich foods and iron supplements. One cost effective way of increasing the intake of iron is fortification of salt with iron in addition to iodine. 

ii. The National Institute of Nutrition, Hyderabad, has developed technologies for the double fortification of salt with iodine and iron. The Ministry of Health & Family Welfare has issued gazette notification prescribing the legal standard for double fortified salt. The NIN has also shared the technology with some of the salt manufacturers by signing MoU with them. 

iii. Before moving towards mandatory double fortification of salt, which is a desirable goal to aspire for in future, Government, may promote the consumption and production of DFS through effective communication campaign, mandating its use in Government sponsored food and nutrition programmes like ICDS, Mid-day-Meals, etc., and by supplying DFS through the Public Distribution System. The Government could also encourage salt manufacturers to invest in technology by making a clear policy statement about the Government’s intent of promoting the use of DFS. 

Actions on the following lines were agreed upon:

a) To begin with, Ministries dealing with food and nutrition programmes like ICDS and Midday Meal Programme will make the use of iron fortified iodized salt (double fortified salt) mandatory in those programmes, in an appropriate manner; 

b) The Dept. of Food & Public Distribution will examine the possibility of supplying DFS through the PDS; 

c) A major mass media campaign will be taken up to promote the use of iron fortified iodized salt (DFS) by the Ministries of Women and Child Development and Health & Family Welfare; 

d) The communication campaign and the decision to use DFS in Government programmes needs to be associated with efforts to increase the supply of DFS in the country. The Department of Industrial Policy & Promotion will work with the private industry and cooperatives to promote manufacture of iron fortified iodized salt (DFS). The Department will also explore the possibility of taking up a scheme to promote capital investment and technology upgradation so that the installed capacity for producing iron fortified iodized salt (DFS) in the country is substantially stepped up. 

e) The Departments of Health and Family Welfare and Health Research under the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare will take necessary measures for promoting the use of DFS in the country, including advising the Ministries of Women and Child Development, Human Resource Development and Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution on use of DFS in Government programmes.  

Hmm. Will be interesting to see the outcomes and implementation of such a program .  Points to complexity of developoment

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