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Cambodia closes in on Iodine Deficiency Disorders (IDD) elimination

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IDD has long been a significant public health problem in Cambodia. The Royal Government of Cambodia initiated a National Sub-Committee for Control of Iodine Deficiency Disorders in 1996 to fight this problem, focusing on Universal Salt Iodization (USI) as the primary strategy to improve iodine status.


Although production of iodized salt started in 1999, there had been only limited success in producing it in large quantities.In 2000 the household consumption of iodized salt was only 12%.This was due to the existence of many small to mediumsized salt producers in Kampot and Kep provinces which were hard to bring under control and the lack of legislation requiring them to iodize all their salt.The situation changed dramatically after the Sub-Decree No. 69 on “The Management of Iodized Salt Exploitation” was signed by the Prime Minister on 20 October 2003 and put into effect in October 2004.The Salt Producers Community of Kampot and Kep (SPCKK) was formed with participation of 167 salt producers. The SPCKK is overseeing most of production and distribution of iodized salt in the country. Some salt is also supplied (often illegally) from neighboring countries.

The basis for production and supply of iodized salt in Cambodia is the production and harvesting of solar salt in Kampot and Kep provinces.Annual production of iodized salt ranges from 72,000 to 106,000 MT depending on weather conditions and the duration of the overcast period during the production season.

A first national school-based survey of iodized salt use was conducted in Cambodia in 2005. A total of 2,878 salt samples were tested with rapid test kits (RTK) of which 2,121 samples (73.7%) tested positive.The salt producing Kampot and Kep provinces had the lowest iodized salt consumption, at 19.3% and 27.7%, respectively, due to non-iodized salt coming from salt fields and storage barns. A lower use of iodized salt was also registered in some border provinces due to the illegal importation of non-iodized salt.Thus, despite significant progress, Cambodia had not reached the goal of IDD elimination by 2005.

Source institution:

UNICEF Cambodia

Contributor name:

Un Sam Oeurn

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