Consumption of iodised salt on the rise

CHENNAI, NOV. 15. Mass awareness campaign, including human chain programmes and rallies, and distribution through fair price shops have helped improve the consumption of iodised salt in the State.

A recent survey conducted by the State Public Health Department has revealed that consumption of iodised salt has gone up to 37 per cent from 20 per cent, according to Mr. V. Palanichamy, Chairman of the Tamil Nadu Salt Corporation.

He said the magnitude of iodine deficiency disorder (IDD) was not initially felt as an issue in the State. But a survey conducted by the Department of Health revealed that the prevalence of Goitre, a consequence of IDD, was more than 10 per cent in many districts. Most of the cases were found in rural areas where there was little awareness about ill-effects of IDD.

To make rural people, especially those below the poverty line, aware of the need for use of iodised salt, he said, the Salt Corporation took various measures. This included mass production of iodised salt and making it available to rural people at an affordable price of Rs. 2.50 a kg through fair price shops along with other essential commodities like rice, sugar, kerosene and wheat.

Besides the Corporation conducted rallies in all districts with school children, teachers, health workers, noon meal organisers and non-governmental organisations and distributed pamphlets, highlighting the need for use of iodised salt for improving the I.Q.

Thanks to these steps, there has been a substantial increase in the use of iodised salt in rural areas, especially among people below the poverty line. Now nearly 10 million rural families had started using the salt.

The Corporation is confident that by the year end it would achieve the target of making all people below the poverty line to use iodised salt regularly.

To meet the increasing demand, the Corporation had augmented its production from one lakh tonnes to two lakh tonnes during 1999- 2000 and planned to produce three lakh tonnes during 2001 - 2002, he added.