India: Fighting Iodine Deficiency

>Grey for Good teamed up with Talwar, a prominent bindi distributor, and Neelvasant, an NGO doing extensive work in rural areas of the western Indian state of Maharashtra, five months ago.

>The group came up with a standard scarlet bindi with a twist: Each bindi?s adhesive came covered with 150-200 micrograms of iodine. Throughout the day,

>a woman wearing the iodine bindi absorbs on average 12% of their daily requirement of iodine, a marked improvement from before.

>>The Life Saving Dot uses the same technology and design as nicotine patches, and it?s cheap; production costs are minimal, Shabaz says, and are affordable

>at just two rupees per pack. (The rural Maharashtrian women Grey for Good worked with earned an average of 20-30 rupees per day.)

>Plus, wearing the iodine-infused bindi requires no behavioral change.

>The campaign hopes to spread awareness about iodine deficiency, a problem that even the most vulnerable populations don?t always know exists.

>Initial tests have been positive; of the approximately 150 women who have been given the bindis to wear,

>none have reported negative side effects and many have reported decreases in headaches, a common side effect of iodine deficiency.

>There are still some shortcomings. Since bindis are worn by the country?s dominant Hindu majority,

>rural women of other religions aren?t going to reap the benefits. And while women face the brunt of iodine deficiency?pregnancy and birth often exacerbate symptoms and effects, making women particularly susceptible to the consequences of iodine deficiency?

>men are affected by the lack of nutrient in their diets, too.

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