Almost 19 million babies born globally every year are at risk of permanent yet preventable brain damage and reduced cognitive function due to a lack of iodine in the earliest years of life.
A UN-backed report released on Thursday said the figure represents 14 per cent of the total global population of children, according to UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) Senior Nutrition Adviser, Roland Kupka.
The report from UNICEF and its partner, the Global Alliance of Improved Nutrition (GAIN), noted that insufficient iodine during pregnancy and infancy resulted in neurological and psychological deficits, reducing a child’s IQ by eight to 10 points.
“The nutrients a child receives in the earliest years of life influence their brain development for life, and can make or break their chance of a prosperous future.
“By protecting and supporting children’s development in early life, we are able to achieve immense results for children throughout their lifespan,” he added.
The UNICEF official noted that salt iodization was both cost effective and economically beneficial at only 0.02 to 0.05 dollar per child annually.
According to him, every dollar spent on salt iodization is estimated to return 30 dollars through increased future cognitive ability.
Titled “Brighter futures: Protecting early brain development through salt iodization,” the report also notes that more than one in four affected children – 4.3 million – lives in South Asia.
While South Asia is home to the largest proportion of babies at risk globally, the region has the second highest iodized salt coverage rate at 87 per cent of the population, preceded by East Asia and the Pacific at 91 per cent coverage.
The lowest coverage with iodized salt was seen in Eastern and Southern Africa, where around 25 per cent of the population do not have access to iodized salt, leaving 3.9 million babies every year unprotected against iodine deficiency disorders.
The earliest moments of life, from conception up to age two, are the most critical for a child’s development, UNICEF said.
It added that nutrition, along with protection and stimulating activities like play and early learning, during a child’s first 1,000 days shape brain development for life.
The report outlined urgent steps to reduce the risk of mental impairment to babies’ growing brains.
This includes the integration of salt iodization into national plans to support children’s nutrition and brain development in early childhood and the establishment of surveillance systems to identify unreached populations. (NAN)
Rotimi Amaechi gets another appointment from Buhari
President Muhammadu Buhari has approved the appointment of the Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi as the Secretary/Director General of his campaign team.
This was contained in a statement signed by Buhari’s spokesperson, Garba Shehu, on Thursday.
A terse statement said Amaechi will subsequently appoint other members of the Buhari-Osinbajo Presidential Campaign team.
The statement reads, “President Muhammadu Buhari has approved the appointment of a campaign organization for his re-election in 2019 with Hon. Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi as Secretary.
“Hon. Amaechi was the Director General of the Buhari-Osinbajo Presidential Campaign Committee in 2014-2015 that won the elections and brought the current administration into office.
“The new Director-General will announce other appointments into the campaign structure as approved by President Buhari.”
South African fraudster arrested over a racist rant against President Cyril Ramaphosa on social media
Kessie Nair, a convicted South African fraudster has been arrested over a racist rant against the country’s President, Cyril Ramaphosa on social media.
Nair is due to appear in court on charges of inciting violence and crimen injuria, or injuring a person’s dignity, police said. His family said he had mental health issues, and needed urgent medical care as racism remains a major issue in South Africa, almost 24 years after white-minority rule ended.
In a video widely shared online, Nair, who is of Indian origin, used a racially derogatory word to describe presidentRamaphosa. The president should be “charged for defrauding this nation‚ for oppressing this nation‚ for high treason‚ for being the source to all crime and violence and poor health care and poverty in this so-called true democracy,” he added.
Subsequently, police arrested Nair in Phoenix, a mainly Indian residential area in KwaZulu-Natal province, on Wednesday following outrage over his post.
The governing African National Congress (ANC) in KwaZulu-Natal condemned the video as “scurrilous”, and said Mr Nair should face the “harshest punishment” but the president’s spokesman, Khusela Diko, said Nair was “clearly a sick person and his racist rant is not deserving of any airtime”, South Africa’s TimesLive news site reported.
“His tirade against the president demonstrates delusional and attention-seeking behaviour,” Mr Diko said, before the arrest. Nair, a former councillor, was sentenced to six years in prison for fraud in 2005.
‘Buhari’s order does not exonerate Senator Adeleke, he’s not free yet’, says Police
POLITICs – This morning, the Nigeria Police force reacted to the order issued by President Buhari restricting the force from inviting Senator Ademola Adeleke of Peoples Democratic Party, PDP.
Speaking on Good Morning Nigeria, a programme on NTA, Jimoh Moshood, Police spokesperson, opined that the President’s order does not clear Adeleke from the alleged crimes, noting that he could be invited any time the force want.
Recall that the PDP aspirant for the forthcoming Osun gubernatorial election was on Wednesday accused of examination malpractice after West African Examination Council, WAEC, had cleared and confirmed that he sat for the 1981 council’s exams. In view of that Police declared him wanted.
However, through the intervention of Buhari on Wednesday, Police withdrew from further investigation on the matter. But reacting to the order issued by Buhari not to invite him pending when Osun election is over, Jimoh averred that Mr. President’s order does not exonerate Adeleke from his allegation.
In his words, “there is no time limit to arrest a suspect any suspect that has been accused or there is allegation of an offence can be invited at any time. Police action terminates when a matter has been taken to court. We have filed charges in court and the matter is off our hands”.
“But if there is any directive that we should not invite him, that directive does not exonerate him from allegation, court process and the people should know that the rule of law prevails above any other consideration. As at yesterday, the deputy inspector-general of police in the state have gone around the state on what we call ‘the show of force exercise’ with other security agencies.
The DIG operation is in charge of the security architecture in the state for the election, they have gone round, they have met with people and equally talk to them. We are enjoying very large cooperation from them, we are hopeful that come Saturday everything will be peaceful to secure an environment for a credible election.”
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