The Ethiopian Public Health Institute (EPHI) in collaboration with Micronutrient Initiative conducted a consultative workshop and training on challenges and opportunities on universal salt iodization program and training on wheat flour and edible oil fortification from March 17 to 18, 2017 in Capital Hotel Addis Ababa.
The workshop was organized following EPHI’s national micronutrient survey that showed some micronutrients including Iodine are national public health problems and on the consultative workshop EPHI shared its evidence to strengthen the national food fortification program and the universal Iodization program.
According to the workshop organizers the Ethiopian National Micronutrient Survey indicates that the coverage of adequately iodized salt in Ethiopia is only 26% exposing millions of mothers and children at risk of various Iodine Deficiency Disorders.
Tesfaye Hailu director of EPHI’s Food Science and Nutrition Research Directorate on his opening speech said that the Ethiopian government has a law endorsed in 2011 that all imported and nationally produced salts to be iodized.
“However in Ethiopia there is a gap to produce iodized salt. The recent survey by EPHI indicates that out of the sample salts collected 85% are iodized but 26% of the samples have only 15 milligrams of iodine in one kilogram of salt,” disclosed Tesfaye.
On the closing ceremony H.E. Dr. Mebratu Kiros, Minister of Industry indicated that most of the foods in Ethiopia are not enriched by vitamins and minerals that are necessary for healthy diet thus attention should be given to improve this.
Professionals from regional health bureaus that work on food fortification, Food, Medicine and Health Care Administration and Control Authority (FMHCA), Ministry of Trade and Industry, Ministry of Education, universities, Salt Producers and EPHI participated on the workshop.