Pregnant women deprived of iodized salt in Bajhang

Published On: February 1, 2017 02:16 AM NPT By: Jagat Khadka

BAJHANG, Jan 31: Pregnant women and new mothers in over two dozen of VDCs in Bajhang district have been deprived of iodized salt as the salt has not been supplied to those areas. The women say they hardly have any idea about the salt. The government has limited the availability of iodized salt only to the district headquarters Chainpur, depriving locals of remote areas of the much-needed salt. 

During pregnancy and post delivery, women are highly recommended to take iodized salt. However, women of Dhuli, Faya, Balaudi, Badijiyan, Chuhawan, Khiripata, Adukali, Baajhchauka and Basuki, among other villages have not received the salt. 
“I gave birth to seven children. But now only one is alive. I am 35 years old. I have no idea about iodized salt,” said Rupmati Bohora of Kanda VDC. 

Even though Bohora herself has been working as a local health volunteer of late, her awareness about this issue is so pathetic. “I keep telling people that they should consume iodized salt but to be honest I don't know what this actually means,” she said.  “We only use rock salt. That's since time immemorial. We don't have iodized salt here,” she added. 

According to Bohora, it is not possible to reach out to the headquarters for the salt alone. As it takes two days' walk from her village to Chainpur, where the salt is available, locals opt to ignore it, she said. 

“We emphasize that pregnant women should consume iodized salt. But that's limited to talk,” she remarked. “There are 21 pregnant women in the village currently. None of them are getting iodized salt,” she added.

Her remark was seconded by a local teacher Ram Rokaya of Tapavan Primary School, who noted that locals use only rock salt as they have no access to iodized powder salt. 

“We tell students in classroom that they should take iodized salt or else they would develop diseases. But, we know deep down in our hearts that such teaching is useless and not practical as iodized salts are not available here,” Rokaya said. 

Meanwhile, former secretary of Banjh VDC Ganesh Bhandari informed that the VDC's initiation to make it easier for the locals to get access to iodized salt went in vain. “We notified of the problem to the CDO but nothing happened,” he stated. 

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