Iodine Global Network (IGN)

Webinar series - UNICEF Guidance on the Monitoring of Salt Iodization Programmes and Determination of Population Iodine Status

May 2020
Beginning in November 2019, IGN has hosted seven webinars on the “UNICEF Guidance on the Monitoring of Salt Iodization Programmes and Determination of Population Iodine StatusAchtung Link öffnet sich in einem neuen Fenster.” The purpose of the webinars was to increase the awareness and understanding of the content of the UNICEF Guidance, aimed at those who could further implement the guidance. These webinars were held and recorded in EnglishAchtung Link öffnet sich in einem neuen Fenster, FrenchAchtung Link öffnet sich in einem neuen Fenster, SpanishAchtung Link öffnet sich in einem neuen Fenster and RussianAchtung Link öffnet sich in einem neuen Fenster and had over 500 participants from dozens around the world.

The webinars highlighted importance achievements toward the elimination of Iodine Deficiency Disorders (IDD), with 88% of global households using iodized salt [1]. The number of countries that has reached optimal iodine nutrition increased from 76 in 2007 to 121 in 2018 [2]. The material aimed to explain the recommendations from the Guidance and how they should be applied in programming. The webinars began with an overview of iodine nutrition programmes and status, followed by a discussion of six key recommendations:
1.Programs need to consider the use of iodized salt in processed food and condiments, which has become increasingly important as salt consumption patterns change. This will help to better understand overall USI programs, and where required, to revise iodization standards.
2.Iodine status for one age group may not necessarily mean that iodine status is adequate for all age groups, and iodine status must be examined by population group. This is especially important for pregnant women to ensure optimal iodine intake.
3.When programs scale up, there is a need to minimize excess iodine intake in addition to inadequate iodine intake. Both ends of the spectrum need to be monitored.
4.Salt reduction and salt iodization efforts need to be aligned so both programme goals can be achieved at the same time.
5.In order to achieve the elimination of IDD, as programmes ramp up into the ‘last mile’, refined monitoring and out-of-the-box thinking will be needed to reach the ultimate goal.
6.Programmatic challenges must be addressed, such as the difficulty that small producers face to iodize their salt, the ‘leakage’ of industrial salt into the edible salt market, weak enforcement, the lack of attention toward iodine nutrition, the coordination of salt iodization with salt reduction and the absence of effective monitoring.
There has been an encouraging amount of communication prior to and after the webinars with participants, with some sharing their programme experiences, struggles and asking questions both during and after the webinar, which resulted in follow-up discussions with IGN and UNICEF staff. The webinars showed the usefulness of connecting professionals from different countries. They demonstrated the enormous enthusiasm, interest and eagerness to share and learn. It showed that many programme managers work in isolation with limited ability to interact and lack of support. IGN wants to address this need and continue providing webinars on various topics and provide individuals the opportunity to share their work and stories, as well as to seek guidance and advice from peers.

Visit the IGN website to watch the webinars, review the guidance and the webinar presentation slides.
1. UNICEFAchtung Link öffnet sich in einem neuen Fenster
2. Global Scorecard of Iodine Nutrition, 2019