Religious leaders urged to promote iodised salt use

ISLAMABAD: The religious leaders vow to contribute to an awareness drive about the usage of iodised salt. A large number of religious leaders and scholars realising the importance of this issue participated in the event.In collaboration with the UNICEF, The Network for Consumer Protection organised an awareness seminar on the promotion of Iodised salt consumption to prevent iodine deficiencies on Thursday with the religious leaders in the Islamabad Capital Territory (ICT). Maulana Tanveer Ahmad Alvi of Jamia Muhammadia thanked the team for organising the seminar to educate all the religious leaders and scholars on this important issue. The lack of information as well as the lack of the due prominence in print and electronic media becomes the reason of invisibility of such important issues related to health, said Mulana Abdul Zahir.In our country, sometimes the religious leaders lack the access to sufficient or accurate information on the health issues. Thereby, the health campaigns fail to incorporate and sensitise these important influential’s of the society. Understanding the key issues related to the health are an essential element of the religious leaders’ sustained support. This knowledge provides a foundation on which they can build communication and dialogue. Thus help from the religious organisations is required, and the ulema need to work with commitment and responsibility, said TN Executive Coordinator Nadeem Iqbal. Iodine deficiency is the most common cause of preventable brain damage in the world. An estimated 2.25 million Pakistani babies are born each year with intellectual impairment caused by deficiency in pregnancy. Mild iodine deficiency can result in a significant loss in the learning ability. Other effects include increased risk of stillbirth, miscarriage, and goitre for women and learning difficulties for children,” said Muhammad Rafiq, Program Specialist in United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF).Universal salt iodisation is the most effective way to ensure that every child gets enough iodine. Just one teaspoon of iodine consumed over the course of a lifetime can provide a high degree of protection against a range of iodine deficiency disorders, said Rafiq.Wherever in the world religious leaders, in partnership with the national governments have shown strong moral courage, political will and a commitment to act, there has been significant success in preventing the deficiency of Iodine, he further said. The participants shared their concerns related to the iodised salt in the questions and answers session later after the briefing.

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