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NNC, UNICEF boost iodized salt use, production in Ilocos Region

SAN JUAN, La Union, Feb. 23 (PIA) – The National Nutrition Council (NNC) in the Ilocos Region, in partnership with the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF), pushes for the strengthening of local actions and strategies for the promotion of the use and manufacture of iodized salt in the region.
A two-day forum dubbed, “Salt Iodization Program Forum: Revitalization of Bantay Asin Task Forces and Retooling of Salt Iodine Checker” was staged in this town on Feb. 20-21.
Around 50 representatives of member agencies of the Regional Bantay Asin Task Force in the Ilocos (RBATF 1), provincial governments, local government units (LGUs) with salt producers in their respective areas, and the academe actively participated in the activity.
NNC-Region 1 officer-in-charge Kendall Pilgrim Gatan said the activity aims to serve as an avenue for dialogue between and among concerned stakeholders in the region to raise their concerns and share practices.
Participants were provided with updates on the new law on salt industry revitalization and its impact on mandatory salt iodization under Republic Act No. 8172 or the “Act for Salt Iodization Nationwide, and the Emerging Issues of RBATFs.”
The Strategic Plan of the National Salt Iodization Program 2023-2028 and the La Union Salt Industry Profile were presented during the activity.
Also, the organizers tapped the Department of Science and Technology for the discussion and demonstration on the use, calibration, and maintenance of salt iodine checkers.
Gatan stated that the region’s utilization rate of adequately iodized salt is only at 11.8 percent based on the Expanded National Nutrition Survey Regional Estimates 2018-2021.
“It is embarrassing to note that Ilocos Region is one of the salt-producing regions of the country but we have a very low usage rate of adequately iodized salt, and even the lowest among all regions,” Gatan said.
There are 27 municipalities and three cities in the region engaged in salt production.
According to UNICEF Nutrition Specialist Evelyn Carpio, iodized salt is a good source of micronutrients essential in maternal health to a child’s development to prevent iodine deficiency disorders.
UNICEF expressed its all-out support for the advocacy and called for all community stakeholders to do the same to be able to raise the households’ iodized salt utilization rate in the country to 80 percent.
“We need the strong collaboration of both government and non-government organizations to successfully attain our goal,” Carpio said. (JCR/AMB/CGCC/PIA Region 1)

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Caren Grace Cabanayan


Region 1

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