Iodine bindis may help healthcare in India

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I love stuff like this. My aunt is a big wheel in international development circles. She helped me to get my first job, which was in that field. I worked at an office where there were several different nutrition projects going on. One was a project on Vitamin A, which is essential for eye health. The team there was looking to incorporate it into margarine spreads that were popular in Latin America. They were telling me that it’s a very common deficiency, and that just by popping open a capsule of it and smearing it on the eye people’s sight could be restored, and that they would send teams down to do that for communities. I thought what they were doing was so wonderful.


One of the main reasons we have iodine easily available is that we put it in salt. In many parts of India they associate salt with government taxes that Ghandi was protesting, so they still make their own and therefore miss out on an easy way for this important mineral.

Good job thinking out of the box to solve the problem, I love it.


This is like the Lucky Iron Fish developed by Canadian health care workers in Cambodia to help get iron into their diets. By integrating the routine into their own cultural practices, it becomes no trouble at all to keep up the routine.


What the… What?

No… It’s hardly possible for people to just go out and make their own salt. Most people don’t live where they can do that.

But what is true is that people tend to buy their salt from the street vendor and not processed salt from the factories. Processed salt here is advertised as “iodised”. The rock salt we get from the street guy with a ton of it on the back of his cycle is not. Problem is, the rock stuff is cheaper, and actually tastes better when used in cooking (or so our cognitive bias tells us). So, lots of poorer people tend to buy that exclusively.

Interesting anecdote 1: At least among us Tamils, manufactured and iodised table salt is called “salt”, while the raw un-powdered stuff from the street guy is called “uppu” which is Tamil for “salt”…

Interesting anecdote 2: A piggyback ride in Tamil is literally called “salt sack” (uppu mootai)…


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