PORT-SUDAN, Sudan, Feb. 7 (Xinhua) -- Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir on Wednesday inaugurated the country's first iodized salt plant in Port-Sudan, the capital city of the Red Sea State in eastern Sudan.
Shafie Factory for Iodized Salt Production, established by Sudan's Etaam Foundation, has "a production capacity of 10 tons per hour," said Ali Abdalla Bunduq, director General of Etaam Foundation, adding that it covers around 30 percent of Sudan's expected consumption of iodized salt.
"The factory also has other products such as the salt used for nutrition of animal resources and sodium salt used for water processing," he added.
He further noted to the health advantages as the factory provides iodized salt which helps address many health issues caused by iodine deficiency such as thyroid diseases.
"The factory will create a great leap in the level of child nutrition in Sudan and the citizens generally, particularly that around 20 percent of Sudan population have thyroid diseases," he said.
Iodine deficiency is one of the major public health issues in Sudan and is responsible of many iodine deficiency disorders such as thyroid gland problems, including endemic goitre, deafness, intellectual disability, dwarfism, low fertility and infertility.
In 2015, Sudan established the national committee for salt iodizing, and set 2019 as a final date to prevent the use of non-iodized salt.
"Establishment of this factory achieves the objectives for which the national committee for salt iodizing was formed," said Abdou Daoud, Sudan's state minister for industry and head of the national committee for salt iodizing.
Meanwhile, an additional production line is also in preparation, said Ali Osman Mohamed Taha, former Sudanese first vice-president and chairman of the board of directors of Etaam Foundation, adding that they also aim at export as "there is need for iodized salt in the neighboring region."
Iodized salt is table salt mixed with a minus amount of various salts of the element iodine.
It is important for prevention against iodine deficiency from which around 2 million people are suffering worldwide according to statistics.