This project aims to increase the supply and intake of iodine in the diet, especially for women who become pregnant. Iodine is critical in the development of the neurological system, and a deficiency of iodine can lead to lifelong irreversible impairment. This means that children are born without their full cognitive potential and are not able to perform as well in school or get secure jobs. The IGN addresses this by working with partners in all countries to develop salt iodization programs.
Iodine Deficiency: Iodine deficiency is the leading preventable cause of intellectual and developmental disabilities in the world. Iodine is a crucial nutrient for healthy brain development. When populations are deficient, pregnant women and newborns are particularly affected. Iodine deficiency can lead to cognitive and developmental impairment, as well as miscarriage, stillbirth, and infant mortality. Today, tens of millions of people remain at risk of iodine deficiency.
Fortunately, iodine deficiency can be prevented easily and affordably by adding a small amount of iodine to the salt that we consume. Healthy iodine nutrition has far-reaching impacts on human and economic prosperity. The Copenhagen Consensus recognizes iodization of salt to eliminate iodine deficiency as one of the best investment strategies in international development.
Much progress has been made, and today, 86 per cent of the global population has access to iodized salt. However, the remaining populations still vulnerable to iodine deficiency face devastating and life-limiting consequences.