Metric tonnes of iodized salt produced in Africa and Asia over the last five years


Newborns protected against iodine deficiency

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Households consume iodized salt

The need

Iodine deficiency disorders remain a global health concern.

Iodine is only needed in small amounts and is often consumed in the foods we eat. But when plants and animals are raised in areas with iodine-deficient soil, the diet for people there often lacks the recommended amount of iodine.

Despite the success of salt iodization, 30% of households globally are still not consuming salt that has been adequately iodized.

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 every year to iodine-deficient mothers, missing out on the protection that iodine offers the growing brain, and a full 18 million are mentally impaired as a result.

Our solution

Salt iodization is one of the greatest global health success stories.

For more than a decade, Nutrition International has been working to expand and speed up the adoption of universal salt iodization around the world.

Working with local salt industries, mostly small- and medium-scale salt producers, we provide easy iodization techniques and ensure they have the tools, equipment and training they need to be effective. We also provide technical and logistical support to develop profitable business plans and encourage salt producers to form cooperatives to pool resources, and improve production techniques, quality, packaging and marketing.

We support national governments in designing iodine deficiency control programs, including legislation and monitoring, and helps them work successfully with salt producers. Local governments are brought on board to help finance the cooperatives and monitor the iodization.

Our Solution

We’ve helped countries around the world produce enough iodized salt to reach 440 million people.

Along with partners, donors, governments and the private sector, we have worked to:

  • Develop an innovative Global Positioning System to local, small-scale salt producers and link them with iodization resources
  • Provide support to the Governments of Bangladesh, Ethiopia, India, Indonesia, Pakistan, Senegal, Tanzania and other governments to design or implement national iodine deficiency control programs
  • Strengthen the enabling environment in key countries by:
    • Fostering government leadership, ownership and commitment to sustainable salt iodization programs, including supporting policy development and strengthening legislative and regulatory systems
    • Improving enforcement of regulations through external monitoring and quality control
  • Improve salt industry capacity in target countries to consistently iodize salt adequately by:
  • Consolidating the micro- to small-scale processing industry for more sustainable support and monitoring
  • Strengthen the capacity of small- and medium-scale salt processors by providing technical support to help industry improvements in the iodization process, technology and internal quality control
  • Support market-driven approaches to supply chain by establishing viable and market-driven potassium iodate and other logistics supply systems
  • Build the global evidence base in collaboration with other global development partners, in order to keep salt iodization on the radar as an important unfinished agenda item for the global community to tackle

Women: an important group

We address the needs of women through universal salt iodization.

Our USI program aims to improve the consumption of adequately iodized salt by the general population, and particularly women, as adequate iodine status during pregnancy is key to preventing iodine deficiency disorders among newborns

Addressing the needs of women

We aim to empower women through capacity building and promoting the emergence of women’s entrepreneurship in salt production.

Women also represent an important group as they take on roles as processors, advocates and monitors depending on the context. In some countries, such as Senegal, women represent a large proportion of small-scale processors. Capacity building to improve the quality of their entrepreneurial activities contributes not only to the quality of iodized salt produced, but also to their personal and household economic empowerment.

In many of our implementation countries, women have assumed increasingly prominent leadership roles at the community level as monitoring agents to ensure the appropriate enforcement of standards.