Iodine Global Network (IGN)

9. What is being done internationally about iodine deficiency?

The Iodine Global Network (IGN) came into existence in 1985 (as International Council for the Control of Iodine Deficiency Disorders) with the single purpose of achieving optimal iodine nutrition worldwide. It has worked closely with UNICEF and the World Health Organization towards this objective.

These and other early efforts led to a pledge by the World Summit for Children, in 1990, to achieve the virtual elimination of iodine deficiency. A massive effort has taken place during the past decade. Key players have included governments and citizens in countries, the salt industry, UNICEF, WHO, ICCIDD, and the Micronutrient Initiative, with major funding from Kiwanis International, the World Bank, the aid programs of Canada, Australia, the Netherlands, and the United States, and many others.

Universal salt iodization is the main strategy. Currently, about 86% of households worldwide consume iodized salt. This success involves not only the implementation of iodized salt, but effective national programs, the development of national IDD coordinating groups, extensive education at all levels, and monitoring. The current emphasis is now on iodine nutrition in those parts of the world that are still lagging, and on maintaining the progress made in other countries.