Valencia City Joins “Saktong Iodine sa Asin” Forum

To intensify the Salt Iodization Advocacy and Mobilization Campaign of the Department of Health to combat iodine deficiency, the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) in partnership with the Philippine Information Agency and the National Nutrition Council X conducted a Multi-sectoral Forum on Asin Law (Saktong Iodine sa Asin) on November 3, 2015 at Pine Hills Hotel, Malaybalay City, Bukidnon.

The forum aims to discuss the status of Iodine Deficiency Disorder (IDD) in Bukidnon and the salient features of RA 8172 -An Act Promoting Salt Iodization Nationwide and for Related Purposes or An Act for Salt Iodization Nationwide (ASIN)- Asin Law. DOH intensifies its promotion to use iodized salt or “Saktong Iodine sa Asin.”

The forum was attended by representatives of the mayors from the cities and municipalities of the province, Health Officers, Health Committee Chair, Market Administrators and heads of vendors association.

Mr. Ariel K. Cabingas, Supervising Administrative Officer of the City Economic Enterprise, Ms. Villa Rizon, Sanitary Inspector IV of City Health Office, and Mr. Conrado B. Arances of Public Information Office of Valencia City attended the said forum. The one-day meeting was facilitated by Philippine Information Agency-Bukidnon through the Information Center Manager Ms. Ruby Leonora R. Balistoy.

Mr. Julius Cesar Alejandre, Nutritionist Dietician from NNC-Manila discussed on the National Salt Iodization Program Updates. Mr. Alejandre said that one of the purposes of the ASIN Law is to contribute to the elimination of the micronutrient malnutrition in the country, particularly iodine deficiency disorders, through cost-effective, preventive measure of salt iodization. “The law also requires the local government units (LGU), through their health officers and nutritionist/dietitians, or in their absence through their sanitary inspectors, to check and monitor the quality of food-grade salt being sold in the market in order to ascertain that such salt is properly iodized,” he added.

Meanwhile, Ms. Shiella Rose D. Cuñada, Nutrition Officer II of National Nutrition Council X discussed the Iodine Deficiency Disorder in Region X including the 8th National Nutrition Survey Findings. Ms. Cuñada said that according to World Health Organization, Iodine deficiency is the world’s most prevalent, yet easily preventable, cause of brain damage. Today we are on the verge of eliminating it – an achievement that will be hailed as a major public health triumph that ranks with getting rid of smallpox and poliomyelitis and iodine deficiency is one of the main causes of impaired cognitive development in children.

An Open Forum was then conducted and Mr. Mike Palma, Nutrition Specialist from UNICEF answered the queries of the attendees while Ms. Ruby Leonor R. Balistoy acts as moderator.

Ms. Thelma B. Oliver, PIA 10 Regional Director gave her closing remarks and urged the attendees to support the national campaign to fight iodine deficiency and help promote iodized salt.

Salt testing was then spearheaded by Ms. Ms. Shiella Rose D. Cuñada, Nutrition Officer II of National Nutrition Council X. Every city and municipality representative was advised to bring salt samples from their locality and was subjected to iodine content test. Per result of the test conducted, Valencia City passed the salt test garnering a score of 36.9 ppm passing the 30-70 ppm average iodine content standards in public markets.