The iodine story: a tribute to Dr. Basil Hetzel (1922 – 2017)
Dr. Basil S. Hetzel died on February 4, 2017 after a truly transformative 70-year career in medicine, research, and public health advocacy. He was one of Australia’s most significant researchers, who will be remembered around the world for his groundbreaking work on cretinism and iodine deficiency, tireless international advocacy to eliminate IDD, and for co-founding the International Council for the Control of Iodine Deficiency Disorders (ICCIDD, now Iodine Global Network).
After mandatory regulation was established in 2003–2004, the well-controlled imports of iodized salt from Russia, Ukraine, and Iran ensured that households throughout Azerbaijan had access to adequately iodized salt. However, about 300 small-scale salt farmers located around salt deposits at Masazir Lake continued to cover 15-20% of the national demand for edible salt.
“Salt + iodine = Saving IQ”: A nationwide campaign in Russia supports mandatory iodized salt legislation
(Gregory Gerasimov; Press Service of the Russian Endocrinology Research Center (RERC))
Russia is the world’s largest country by territory, and it has a population of over 140 million. Spanning two continents and eleven time zones, it encompasses a vast geographic diversity within its borders. Endemic goiter has been reported in written records dating back centuries. Starting in the 1950s, a national program to control IDD in selected regions provided iodized salt to approximately 60% of the country’s population. But as in many other countries, the government commitment to the program waned as goiter rates went down.
The challenges of harmonizing the iodine supply across Europe
(Bath, S. Lancet Diabetes Endocrinol 2016; Published online December 6, 2016)
Iodine deficiency affects many pregnant women in Europe, and although this is a public health concern, there is a lack of consistency across countries both in the supply of iodine (e.g., iodized salt programs) and the monitoring of iodine status of the population.
Pregnant women in poor rural areas of Indonesia have low iodine intakes
(Kartono D, Atmarita, AB Jahari, Soekirman, D Izzwardy. Gizi Indon 2016, 39(1): 125-136)
Iodine deficiency is a recognized public health problem in Indonesia, and there have been extensive efforts to reduce its impact on the population, particularly through the use of iodized salt. Household coverage with iodized salt has been monitored regularly since 1998: as part of the annual National Socio-Economic Survey (Susenas) until 2003, and as part of the National Basic Health Research (Riskesdas) survey in 2007 and again in 2013.
The gift of salt: a personal story from Lake Afdera
I have in front of me a 4.8-kilogram file filled with documents that trace the story of how Lake Afdera in the Danakil depression, Afar region of Ethiopia has developed into the largest source of salt in the country. With a volcano in the background, which once shaped the landscape we see today, the lake lies 102 meters below sea level and has a surface area of around 100 sq. kilometers.
(Chandrakant S Pandav, Harshal R Salve, Kapil Yadav, M A Ansari, Farhad Ahamed, et al.)
UNICEF commissioned the Iodine Global Network (IGN) to undertake a comprehensive review of the USI strategy in Bangladesh. National and international experts visited Bangladesh on 20–29 August 2016 to develop recommendations for a revised strategy for the sustainable implementation of Universal Salt Iodization in Bangladesh.
Achieving optimal iodine nutrition in Tanzania: Transforming the salt industry to ensure sustainable elimination of IDD
(Festo Kavishe, Vincent Assey, Robin Houston, Alister Shields, Banda Ndiaye)
At the national level, Tanzania has reached optimal iodine intake (with a median urinary iodine concentration, MUIC, of 180 g/L in women of reproductive age), overcoming a historically high prevalence of iodine deficiency. But the national figures mask an ongoing problem, highlighted by recent Tanzanian Demographic and Health Survey (TDHS) data.