WHY IODINE

Iodine deficiency is most damaging during fetal development and in the first few years of a child’s life.

It is estimated that 38 million babies are born without the protection that iodine offers the growing brain, and a full 18 million are mentally impaired as a result.

In many middle to high income countries, the problem of iodine deficiency has largely been solved by adding iodine to salt, known as salt iodization, which then makes it into animal feed, breads, processed foods and salt shakers in homes around the world.

Salt iodization is one of the most successful public health campaign in the world, and MI has been a significant part of that success.

Despite this success, iodine deficiency disorders still remain a global health concern. At least 30% of households around the world still consume salt that either isn’t iodized or isn’t adequately iodized.

We need to get iodine into the diets of more young women and their babies in order to prevent this brain damage, and help ensure all children can reach their full development potential.

  • In 2013, MI supported the iodization of close to 250,000 thousand metric tonnes of salt in Africa, helping to protect more than 2 million newborns from iodine deficiency. We focus our salt iodization work in Senegal, as a regional hub for West Africa, Nigeria, Ethiopia and Kenya, which is a hub for East Africa.
  • In 2013, MI supported the production of an additional 1.2 million metric tonnes of iodized salt in Asia, helping to protect almost 7 million newborns from iodine deficiency.
  • We helped develop an innovative Global Positioning System (GPS) to locate small-scale salt producers in Senegal, Bangladesh and Pakistan.
  • Our work with the World Food Programme (WFP) focuses on local salt producers’ ability to iodize salt in countries where iodine deficiency rates are high.
  • Helping the Government of Pakistan and other governments to design a national iodine deficiency control programs.

Through support from the Government of Canada, MI has been working for more than a decade to speed up the pace and expand the adoption – or scale up – of universal salt iodization around the world, resulting in 70 per cent of households consuming iodized salt.

Despite this success, iodine deficiency disorders still remain a global health concern. At least 30% of households around the world still consume salt that either isn’t iodized or isn’t adequately iodized.

We need to get iodine into the diets of more young women and their babies in order to prevent this brain damage, and help ensure all children can reach their full development potential.

Salt Iodization Program

Learn more about how MI is leading iodization efforts by working with small, local salt producers in providing simple and easy iodization techniques to reach those households that are still not consuming iodized salt.

Did you know?
  • Like other micronutrients, iodine is only needed in small amounts for proper human development. The amount of iodine found in many foods, such as yogurt, dairy, eggs, fish and strawberries, is usually quite small but sometimes provides what we need; nothing contributes more to healthy brain development than that small dose of iodine.
  • We consume iodine in our foods but sometimes it is not enough. When plants and animal raised in areas with iodine-deficient soil, the diet for those people will be less healthy, resulting in populations suffering from iodine defiency disorders (IDD).