Ted Turner Helps Out IDD

The United Nations Foundation and Kiwanis International announced on February 2nd, 1999, a co-funded grant of $2 million to the United Nations Children´s Fund to combat iodine deficiency disorders (IDD).

The UN Foundation is providing $1 million, and Kiwanis International is matching this amount. The UN Foundation administers the $1 billion gift by Time-Warner executive Ted Turner to United Nations programs serving children.

The $2 million grant will be used by UNICEF to promote universal salt iodization in Angola, Central African Republic, Chad, Democratic Republic of Congo (Zaire), and Guinea. UNICEF estimates that in these five countries, universal salt iodization could avert 9.5 million new cases of IDD each year, including half a million new cases of mental impairment among newborns.

The $2 million grant will be used to purchase salt iodization equipment and chemicals for the five African nations.

Funds also will provide lab equipment and staff training to monitor salt quality. The grant will support public educational programs to increase awareness of the value of iodized salt.

Kiwanis International is joining the UN Foundation in co-funding the grant as part of the Kiwanis Worldwide Service Project. To learn more about IDD and this project, visit the Web site at www.kiwanis.org/wsp/. In partnership with UNICEF, Kiwanis clubs have pledged to raise $75 million to fund salt-iodization programs around the world.

A UN Foundation news releases, which announces a $31.7 million investment in UN programs, states: One year after it began operations, the United Nations Foundation (UNF) announced its third round of investments in United Nations programs, bringing total first-year commitments to almost $90 million. At its January meeting, the UNF Board awarded 25 grants among its four program priorities -- population and women $11,634,006 (36 percent), environment $10,861,411 (34 percent), child health $3,250,000 (10 percent) and selected UN causes $5,940,000 (19 percent) – for total funding of $31.7 million. Cumulative funding for the UN system from the UN Foundation now totals approximately $87 million.

"We are extremely pleased with the high-quality projects proposed by the UN and with the increasing focus on the Board's major priorities, " said Timothy E. Wirth, President of the UN Foundation. "We are building a wonderful partnership with the UN and its Fund for International Partnerships. These projects demonstrate how well the UN works in encouraging progress around the world on behalf of human development, women's empowerment, children's health, environmental protection, and reproductive health care. Each of these projects is an example of how much the UN does to promote a more peaceful and prosperous world and our Board is proud to be able to support these UN causes."

Humans who do not consume enough iodine experience several adverse health effects, among them mental retardation and growth inhibition. Because iodine deficiency appears to be a leading cause of preventable mental retardation in children, it is critical that pregnant women and the young consume adequate amounts. Commonly, iodine is added to salt, and this practice has been shown to increase the productivity of communities, resulting in higher-than-anticipated economic growth.

In this project, UNICEF will work with WHO, Kiwanis International and other partners in five countries (Angola, Central African Republic, Chad, Democratic Republic of Congo and Guinea) to ensure that iodized salt is made available through sustainable methods.