Jan 10, 2008

Are we really reluctant to know about the benefits of iodised salt?

Pyuthan residents ignorant of benefits of iodised salt

Government efforts in creating awareness on the use of iodised salt through print and electronic media have failed to bring about desired effects in the districts.
Apart from government officials and residents in Khalanga the district headquarters, villagers do not buy iodised salt, which is expensive compared to the non-iodised variety.
A majority in the district is still unaware of the benefits of iodine where goitre is interpreted as the manifestation of sins the victim committed in a past life.
"The packed (iodised) salt is expensive. Why buy the expensive one when the other one is much cheaper. After all salt is salt," said Tiki Gharti of Jumrikada VDC who had come to the local Bijuwar bazaar to buy commodities. Gharti expressed her ignorance of iodine and its efficacy for the human body.
Except for government officials and bazaar residents, all villagers prefer non-iodised salt according to Narayan Shrestha, a local merchant in Bijurawa, the second commercial hub of the district.
"Since the media campaign has failed, the local health institutions should play an active role in making people aware of the use of iodised salt", opined Jyoti Kunwar, a trainer at a local institution.
However, Lal Mani Devkota, a teacher at the Swargadwari Campus is of the view that the iodised salt could be introduced among the district populace by banning the sale of sub-standard salt.
Dr. Ananda Kumar Shrestha, the Chief at the District Health Office (DHO) said that the DHO is
mulling conducting tests on the quality of salt being sold in district markets.

Reported by: NUMARAJ KHANAL in Kantipur

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