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Home / India News / 2007 / May 2007 / May 14, 2007
Self-help group popularises iodised salt in Orissa rural homes
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Self-help group popularises iodised salt in Orissa rural homes

A self-help group in Orissas Koraput District has persuaded hundreds of tribal women in non-descript villages to include iodised salt in the daily diet of their families to fight Iodine Deficiency Disorders (IDDs).

Padmapur (Orisssa), May 14 : A self-help group in Orissa's Koraput District has persuaded hundreds of tribal women in non-descript villages to include iodised salt in the daily diet of their families to fight Iodine Deficiency Disorders (IDDs).

Sivani, a Self Help Group (SHG) of 776 women used to sell rice and kerosene in remote villages of the area. It has also started selling iodised salt after it saw a presentation on several diseases caused due to IDDs.

The campaign started with only a small group of women from Padmapur village in the district.

The women say initially it was really difficult for them to convince the tribals to buy iodised salt instead of the cheaper crystal salt. It took lot of patience and effort to convince the villagers to switch over to iodised salt.

"Initially, when we procured iodine salt, people told us that they are getting crystal salt much cheaper. We started the scheme with one packet of salt. Earlier, they have reservation not to take iodised salt. Now, everybody is getting aware of the benefits of taking iodised salt," said Pankaj Mohanty, member of SHG.

The efforts of the SHG paid off, and the tribals of Padmapur village are now convinced that goitre, repeated abortions and birth of mentally challenged offspring's are not because of karma, but due to deficiency of iodine.

"My son is mentally unstable. He doesn't understand anything. We were advised to take iodised salt. He is better now. Maybe, I had iodine deficiency at the time of pregnancy, that's why my son was born like this," said Parbati, a tribal woman.

The women of the SHG are also earning their living by selling the iodised salt.

The district administration is happy with the work of the SHG and has decided to implement to replicate the scheme in other regions as well.

"They have propagated the use of iodised salt in the entire area.

Because of their effort, even UNICEF has studied the case. The entire area is now using iodised salt. We have officially banned it.

But they have efficiently implemented it in the area. So, we are very much satisfied with the performance," said Gayatri Singh, Project Officer Child Development and Nutrition.

IDDs are a significant public health disorder in India. Around 70 million people in the country suffer from IDDs, with 200 million more at risk.

According to UNICEF, out of 26 million children born in India every year, as many as 12 million are unprotected against Iodine Deficiency Disorders, such as irreversible brain damage, deaf-mutism, dwarfism and severely depleted levels of productivity.

ANI

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