Partnership is key to progress
The public health success of the global effort to eliminate iodine deficiency disorders, protecting the brains of hundreds of millions of children around the world, has been a unique partnership that brought together organizations like UNICEF, the World Health Organization, Kiwanis International, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and the salt industry.
The formation of the Iodine Global Network is a legacy of that first partnership. As more public health challenges emerge and the world deals with other major concerns, IGN continues to catalyse the work to ensure that all populations achieve and sustain iodine sufficiency, and that the structures to sustain progress are structured and strong in all countries and regions.
One of the most rewarding things about the journey is that as we’ve done this, other partners have joined us, helping in dynamic and diverse ways. It is both empowering and humbling to see individuals, month after month and even year upon year, donate part of their earnings to our work through platforms such as The Life You Can Save, Effective Altruism and CanadaHelps. Young people in Germany are beginning to donate to us through a platform called One4Good and we hope more across the world will do so. Through Founders Pledge, innovative entrepreneurs are supporting our work. With the World Iodine Association, we are advocating to raise awareness of the problem of iodine deficiency in Europe.
We want all of you to know that we are using your donations wisely, leveraging every dollar we receive to sustain progress and improve it to protect more children. We will always do this. But we can and are doing more.
Partnerships allow us not only to sustain and grow, but to innovate. The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, UNICEF and USAID, have shared their joint vision for broader food fortification efforts, adding essential micronutrients to flour and cooking oil as well as salt. IGN’s experience over two decades of salt fortification is a critical component of this new work.
Through our work with the Global Data Fortification Exchange and with support from other partners, we are looking to find new ways both to use the data we have and to get more current, even real-time information using new indicators, new means, and new partners, including the private sector. With the World Health Organization, we are working to enrich the global Vitamin and Mineral Nutrition Information System with data on iodine and to highlight the global iodine situation of school-age children, women of reproductive age and pregnant women.
By finding innovative ways to use and gather data, we can learn from both our failures and successes to catalyze momentum on large-scale food fortification, protecting and creating better futures for the more than two billion people who currently suffer from deficiencies in essential micronutrients such as iron, vitamin A, zinc, folic acid, and of course iodine. Whatever form your support for IGN takes, we couldn’t do it without you, and we are glad you are with us on this journey.