In November 2019, UNICEF, in partnership with IGN, NI, WHO and GAIN and with the support of the Kenyan Government, jointly supported a regional consultation on the sustainable prevention and control of iodine deficiency disorders in Eastern and Southern Africa. The purpose of the meeting was to re-energize and re-focus attention on salt iodization programs in the region, and led to a high level of engagement and commitment from those in attendance.
Iodine deficiency, recognized as the world’s most preventable cause of brain damage, has long been endemic in all countries of Eastern and Southern Africa. Impairing the development of young children by restricting their ability to learn, lead productive lives and thrive, its prevention is achievable through universal salt iodization (USI), whereby all edible salt is fortified with a minimal amount of iodine. As a result of close collaboration between governments, salt producers, development agencies, academic institutions and civil society, tremendous progress has been achieved over the past 20 years toward establishing USI programs in the region. While recognizing the tremendous achievements over the past two decades, it’s also imperative to improve programs, prevent slippage and sustain achievements to continue this forward progress.
The 2019 Mombasa Consultation was a very productive session that brought together participants from 15 countries to review progress, learn about emerging opportunities and reflect on strategic improvements that can be made to improve national programs. We must now take what we learned and put it into action, working toward a world without iodine deficiency disorder.
IGN is deeply committed to continue to work with all partners to support the continued strengthening of national programs to ensure that iodine deficiency is forever eliminated, ensuring every child is born with the opportunity to reach their full potential.
To view more, download the entire Mombasa Declaration
, including surveys and action plans for various countries.