A Role for Nongovernmental Organizations in Monitoring the Iodine Content of Salt in Northern India

Bull World Health Organ. 1995;73(1):71-5.

Abstract

The feasibility of using nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) to monitor the iodine content of salt was studied in Uttar Pradesh, northern India, where iodine-deficiency disorders (IDDs) are endemic. Three NGOs already involved in health and development activities in the Gorakhpur, Varanasi, and Dehradun regions collected salt samples monthly from households and shops in selected villages over a 6-month period. A total of 4001 samples were analysed at regional laboratories by trained personnel using a standard protocol; 10% of the samples were sent to a central laboratory for external quality control. The iodine content lay in the range 0-95 mg/kg of salt; it was particularly low in the Gorakhpur and Varanasi regions, where over 80% of samples contained less than the minimum recommended level of 15 mg/kg; 37% of samples were in this category in the Dehradun region. Regular monitoring of the iodine content of salt at the consumer level is essential for the elimination of IDDs, and there is a need to improve awareness of this at all levels. NGOs can play a valuable role in both of these respects.

MeSH terms

  • Humans
  • India
  • Iodine / analysis*
  • Iodine / deficiency
  • Sodium Chloride / analysis*
  • Specimen Handling
  • Voluntary Health Agencies*

Substances

  • Sodium Chloride
  • Iodine