The Government of Red Sea state, and Iodine Global Network (IGN) with UN agencies and partners reaffirm commitment to Universal salt iodization in Sudan
The Government urges the donors to support the efforts to end the Iodine deficiency disorders in Sudan and investment in more modern iodized salt plants.
Khartoum 2nd December 2020
Universal salt iodization (USI) is the main strategy to eliminate iodine deficiency. Over the past two decades, national salt iodization programs have been introduced and scaled up in many countries. The basic concept of Universal Salt Iodization implies that all edible salt (household, processed food and animal salt) should be iodized.
Currently, the production and consumption of iodized salt declined in Sudan due to the gap in supply and interruption of production making difficult to households across Sudan to obtain and consume iodized salt, an essential mineral which is vital for optimal growth and development specially for children and pregnant women. Without regular consumption, longer term impacts can lead to iodine deficiency disorders, increased risk of miscarriage, goitre, memory loss and learning difficulties in the country.
Iodine Global Network has taken seriously the prevailing situation in Sudan specially the disruption in production and flow of adequately iodized salt and the status of IDD especially in the internally displaced people (IDP) areas in the south (Western Sudan previously) known with endemic goitre and lack of adequately iodized salt. Within its commitment to support the USI program in Sudan the Iodine Global Network through its regional office in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA Office) approached the members of the transitional government in Sudan to bring the salt iodization problem under the microscope and focus once again. IGN stating the seriousness of the delay in enforcing legislation on the use of iodized salt and lack of enough iodine nutrition and production for universal coverage urged the government to take rapid action to address the issue.
The Sudanese government, represented by the Ministry of Production and Economic Resources ( the industrial sector), and in cooperation with Iodine Global Network and UN agencies and partners including ( Federal Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Industry and Trade, the World Food Program, UNICEF, and the WHO) , held a two days’ workshop and meetings with the Governor and senior policy makers in the Red Sea state on 18-19 November 2020, to advocate and push and accelerate the increased production and investment in more modern salt plants and establishment of industrial complexes based on raw salt (sodium chloride) . The workshops held under the auspices of Eng. Abdullah Shanghari , the Governor of the Red Sea State, with the participation of Professor Izzeldin Sharief Hussein , IGN regional director for Middle East and North Africa Region , who is also (a Sudanese expert in the Diaspora) who delivered the key note speech and presentation on making Sudan free of IDD and the uses of sodium chloride (salt) in prevention of micro-nutrient deficiencies and uses in sustainable industrial development.
The workshop attended by senior concerned government departments urged the Sudan government to focus on increased production of adequately iodized salt and establishment of industrial complexes based on sodium chloride at production sites, to encourage sustainable iodized salt production and the byproducts taking advantage of the studies and surveys conducted during the past few years, and the environmental impact.
The workshop recommended and urged the Red Sea government to activate the law to ban the use of non-iodized salt, and accelerate the completion of the procedures related to Shafi factory (which has been confiscated by the transitional government) and to agree on how to operate and manage it to benefit from its refining and increasing production of iodized salt, the meeting suggested a public private partnership to operate the factory which can produce 45 thousand tons of Iodized salt annually .
The meeting urged the government to ban production of non- iodized salt from Al Barbary and Sati Salt saline because of the product being unfit for human consumption and requested the producers to improving the quality of production in the Rewaya salt factory.
The workshop recommended and urged the government and partners and UN agencies to support strengthening the monitoring system for quality control and quality assurance in accordance with the Sudanese standards and specification as well as encouraging investment in iodized salt by creating an attractive environment and supporting small-scale producers.
The meeting also recommended to re – distribute the Potassium iodate allocated to Al Shafi factory before its confiscation to be used by producers to increasing production by other factories, in the event that the plant is not put for operation quickly and to review the Revolving Fund for the provision of potassium iodate.
Other recommendations urged the government to provide fuel to producers (Diesel and gas) at the price set for industry and to be involved in the infrastructure of roads and electricity for the salt factories.
The government urged IGN/UNICEF/WHO and WFP to support the program set for the social and behavioural change communication strategy regarding iodized salt and raising awareness among community and consumers stressing on the health benefits of iodized salt.
On developing concept for new plants to increase the current capacity of iodized salt production and management of the same the government of red sea state assigned the IGN to support writing the proposal and design of such plants and business model with Serra Spain to be included in the Red Sea government budget for 2021. Taking into consideration the current economic situation of the country the government of red sea also requested the IGN and partners to promote the concept of a new modern iodized salt plant and a chlorine factory to potential donors to support at least the cost of one salt plant in foreign component “currency “.
In Khartoum, the regional director of IGN briefed the government departments concerned on the outcomes of the workshop in the Red Sea and presented the concept on iodized salt plants development and program management to the undersecretary of the ministry of industry who appreciated the efforts by Red sea Government , IGN and the International organizations and local partners and promised to extend all possible efforts to implement the recommendations set forth by the workshop
It is worth to mention that The Iodine Global Network is a non-profit, non-government organization for the sustainable elimination of iodine deficiency worldwide. Working for a world where all people attain optimal iodine nutrition and children can reach their full cognitive potential, and working with key public, private, scientific and civic stakeholders with focus on universal salt iodization as the most cost-effective and sustainable solution for prevention of iodine deficiency disorders.
In Sudan Iodine Global Network is working with the Government of Sudan, and UN agencies operating in country (WFP, UNICEF, WHO, ) and with national partners and stakeholders and salt producers to support the harmonization of national iodine program delivery through alignment of approaches, partnerships and resources and advocates for political will and increased attention and resources for iodine program in the context of the broader global nutrition landscape to re-launch and draw attention to the serious issue of decreased iodized salt supply and coverage in Sudn.
USI -IDD Workshop in Port Sudan 18 November 2020
Dr Izzeldin Hussein IGN Regional Director with H.E Eng. Shanghrai the governor of the Red Sea RegionH
.E Abdalla Shanghrai the governor of Red Sea region and Dr. Izzeldin Hussein of IGN and USI program partners and agencies during the workshop in Port Sudan November 2020