The work of making sure that salt is iodized forever is continuous, and while face to face meetings are off limits in most countries, virtual progress is uplifting. Last month, IGN, together with UNICEF, developed and led country consultations for Sri Lanka and Bangladesh, aimed at improving various aspects of iodization programmes.
Sri Lanka kicked off a series of national consultations in South Asia. The country has done remarkably well in the achievement of optimal iodine nutrition but wants to go yet further. On February 11, stakeholders discussed the remaining challenge and agreed on action on reaching unreached population groups in certain provinces as well as improving the quality of salt iodization and the overall sustainability of the programme.
Bangladesh is nearing enactment of an Iodized Salt bill to improve the monitoring and efficacy of its programme. Speaking at the UNICEF/IGN-hosted consultation on 14 February, the Secretary of the Ministry of Industry told participants that protecting population brain development is crucial to achieving economic progress. Development partners in Bangladesh have shown remarkable collaboration and helped focus the workshop on the key challenges. With roughly 40% of salt in Bangladesh not iodized or poorly iodized, more focus is needed on the salt supply sector and how it can improve its practices.
IGN is preparing for consultations in Afghanistan and Pakistan in the coming weeks.