Iodine deficiency is the world’s most prevalent, yet easily preventable, cause of brain damage. Iodine deficiency disorders (IDD), represent a serious threat to children’s mental health and often their very survival. Severe iodine deficiency may reduce a child’s IQ by 10-15 points, resulting in poorer school performance and worse economic prospects later in life. Iodine deficiency can impair the social and economic wellbeing of entire communities.
Universal salt iodization – the practice of adding iodine to salt – is a safe and scalable nutrition intervention, and the most cost effective way to tackle iodine deficiency disorders.
Today we are on the verge of eliminating iodine deficiency disorders – an achievement that will be hailed as a major public health triumph that ranks with getting rid of smallpox and poliomyelitis. The global progress in iodine deficiency reduction over the last two decades has been significant: While there were 113 iodine deficient countries in 1993, this number has fallen to just 19 in 2017.
To celebrate success and explore future opportunities, GAIN together with the World Health Organization (WHO), the Iodine Global Network (IGN), the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH) and Effective Altruism Geneva organized the event ‘Towards the Elimination of Iodine Deficiency by 2020’ on Tuesday, 23 May 2017, on the side lines of the World Health Assembly in Geneva, Switzerland.
Read more about the event here.