Revitalizing a program with problems
Early progress towards universal salt iodization in Madagascar started on a good footing with mandatory legislation for the iodization of all food-grade salt since 1995. However, between 2006 and 2015, Madagascar’s salt iodization program collapsed due to political and economic instability. In 2014, just 21% of households used iodized salt, and there was deficiency among pregnant and non-pregnant women.
IGN conducted several missions to Madagascar to rebuild national commitment for Universal Salt Iodization (USI) using some $50,000 of donations for this work. Through consultative workshops and technical expertise, IGN worked with government and UNICEF and USAID to create a new policy and action plan for USI in Madagascar.
Benefiting 13.8 million people with iodized salt
With a $900,000 investment from USAID, the program is implemented by UNICEF, IGN, and other partners over a 5-year period. Also, IGN facilitated the Japanese donation of a significant initial amount of potassium iodate.
The percentage of households using iodized salt in Madagascar has increased from 21% 2014 to 70% in 2022. This increased access to iodized salt has benefitted 13.8 million people, with an investment of only 6-7 US cents per person. IGN collaborates with UNICEF, as members of the USI-IDD ESA Regional Coordination Mechanism (RCM), to update analysis of salt production, iodization, and distribution to further improve iodine nutrition and eliminate iodine deficiency disorders.
Reaching 90% household coverage
Raising awareness of iodine nutrition in Madagascar is critical for promoting the demand for iodized salt among policy makers and the general population.
The country is on a positive trajectory and has the potential to reach 90% household coverage with adequately iodized salt if all large and medium scale salt producers with capacity to iodize their salt do so. IGN will continue its role as an initiator, convenor, advocate, and provider of expertise to ensure pregnant and non-pregnant women and indeed the whole Malagasy population achieve and sustain optimal iodine intake.