Iodine is an important micronutrient. A lack of iodine in the diet can lead to iodine deficiency disorders (IDD) which can cause miscarriages, brain disorders, cretinism and retarded psychomotor development. It has been estimated that 200 million people in India are exposed to the risk of iodine deficiency. That is way SIDART, in collaboration with UNICEF, set up a project to create awareness and establish marketing network to promote consumption of iodized salt in Dholpur, Baseri and Ramgarh.
The objectives of the program were to create awareness and knowledge about the need, benefits and importance of iodized salt, to obtain commitment from the shopkeepers and retail outlet owners to sell only adequately iodized salt, identify and establish outlets to ensure the availability of iodized salt and to create community awareness about the place of availability.
Trainings were organized to inform field workers on the issue of iodine. The participants received information on what iodine is and why it is necessary for human beings and animals, the diseases caused by a deficiency of iodine micronutrients and why iodine is only mixed with salt. The training made the field workers understand what and how they should communicate.
After the training of the field workers, a survey was performed to inform the villagers about iodine and about the activities that were going to be performed that particular day. The activities included a meeting with villages, shopkeepers, and students to inform about the benefits of eating iodized salt. After the informational session, cultural programs were organized. The songs sang in these programs captured a message that promoted eating salt. During the late evening, shopkeepers were told that they had to sell iodized salt. There is a law that prohibits people from selling non-iodized salt.
SIDART identified places were iodized salt can be stored and made sure that the shopkeepers were provided with iodized salt. It was successfully implemented in two remote blocks of Alwar and Dholpur.