UNICEF advises Kazakhstan to add iodine and vitamins to flour 21 августа 2013, 16:41
Photo by Marat Abilov©
UNICEF has advised Kazakhstan to add iodine and vitamins to flour, Tengrinews.kz reports from a government meeting.
UNICEF Representative in Kazakhstan Jun Kukita made a report and gave Kazakhstan several recommendations on lowering child and infant mortality and increasing life expectancy of Kazakhstan citizens.
Currently Kazakhstan’s child mortality is at the level of 18 per 1,000 live-born children, he wrote. “This means that the rate has decreased by around 65 percent and Kazakhstan has almost reached the infant mortality decrease target set to be achieved until 2015. This is a result that is worthy of respect; Kazakhstan has joined the group of countries like Latin America,” Kukita said.
“If Kazakhstan wants to improve the situation even further and achieve the level of countries like the U.S. and Malaysia and even the Top 40 countries like Australia and Korea, we suggest considering two interventions with fast effect and two interventions with a broader coverage and longer impact period. The first two interventions are targeted on poor families and rural areas. Statistics shows that these groups have higher child mortality rate. We have to improve the coverage of poor and village families so that all of these families are reached with the package provided by the Healthcare Ministry.
"We also suggest investing in prevention of iodine, vitamins A and B deficiencies. People could take these vitamins with bread, if we add iodine and other vitamins to the flour. This would help prevent anemia and improve birth rate. Anemia is among factors that kill women during deliveries,” the Fund’s representative said.
He also advised to add iodine to food. “Kazakhstan already does that, but we have to achieve a 100 percent coverage. This would help improve intrauterine development during pregnancies and add 10 extra IQ points for the babies. Children would be growing more healthy.
"Children under 5 should take vitamin A in velum, except for children under 6 months old who get their immunity from beast milk. This would make children healthier and reduce child mortality rate. The cost of all these measures is quite low, but they would produce good results for your country. You can save children’s lives and lower expenses on medical services,” Kukita continued.
The UNICEF representative recommended the Kazakhstan government to establish an inter-sector cooperation to make improvement of life conditions for Kazakhstan citizens more efficient. "To make the improvements happen all of the sectors have to make their contribution and cooperate with each other. This way Kazakhstan could achieve a higher health level among children,” Kukita said.
Kazakhstan Vice-Minister of Healthcare Erik Baizhunussov replied that Kazakhstan planned to introduce compulsory iodation of flour and salt starting from next year. “The government has supported this idea and if all our calculations are confirmed, we are ready to start the compulsory iodation of flour and salt next year,” he said.
By Altynai Zhumzhumina