Partnership in Madagascar
A partnership with Japan boosts iodine nutrition
by Marie-Claude Désilets, Minoru Irie, Festo Kavishe and Isiye Ndombi
In Morondava, Madagascar, on February 14th 2019, stakeholders and members of the public gathered to the live soundtrack of the local Leahaly band to celebrate a shipment that will prevent brain damage in thousands of babies in the country this year and beyond.
Iodine nutrition has been a serious public health problem in Madagascar, with political will inconsistent over the past decades, and levels alarmingly low according to the last national survey in 2016, leaving babies at risk of being born with mental impairment.
Now, Madagascar is seeing a sea change – a renewed commitment toward salt iodization. The intervention, a simple and proven solution to iodine malnutrition, was named a key action of the national nutrition plan through 2021. Among the changes to take place is an increased capacity for regulatory monitoring and enforcement, two keystones of successful salt iodization programs.
For Madagascar’s salt producers, this is good news. As part of the deal, they’ll receive iodization and quality control equipment. It will also be used to help establish a revolving fund so that the fortificant, potassium iodate, can ultimately be provided sustainably.
|Tadidio ry vehivavy bevohoka,||Remember, pregnant women,|
|Mampivelatra ny sain’ny zaza ao am-bohoka,||Developing baby’s mind in the womb,|
|Misoroka ny fahafahan-jaza, ho anao koa,||Preventing spontaneous abortion,|
|Ny fihinana sira misy ioda isan’andro||for you, the daily use of iodized salt|
The Leahaly band performing live at the event in Morondava.
- Quality monitoring and iodization capacity
- Behavior change to improve the sales of iodized salt
- Better coverage of this critical intervention so it can reach all people of Madagascar
- Stronger public-private partnership with the salt industry