A roadmap to sustainable iodized salt production
IGN has been working to address the issue of iodine deficiency in Sudan. Surveys from over 15 years ago showed that iodine deficiency disorder (IDD) is a severe problem in Sudan, with more than 20% of school-aged children having goiter, a clear sign of chronic iodine deficiency.
A large proportion of the salt for human consumption in Sudan comes from small-scale producers who sell it informally in local markets. Outdated technology for salt production and refinement, inadequate infrastructure for iodizing salt, and insufficient monitoring of small producers has led to the availability of large quantities of cheaper non-iodized and unrefined salt. The absence of national legislation mandating salt iodization has hampered progress in iodized salt production.
Making salt iodization a reality
Sudan’s salt iodization program has been declining, with only 15% of households having access to iodized salt and only 4% consuming adequately iodized salt. The country has not been able to produce sufficient quantities of iodized salt. Non-iodized salt is readily available and affordable, and households are generally unaware of the link between iodized salt and IDD prevention.
With improved public infrastructure, large-scale production of iodized salt could be increased. An assessment led by IGN Regional Coordinator Izzeldin Hussein in collaboration with UNICEF in 2021 led to a high-level meeting of government and key stakeholders in October 2022. This has accelerated efforts towards enacting legislation to strengthen regulatory and monitoring systems and revitalizing partnerships to support the modernization of Sudan’s salt industry.
The way forward
IGN aims to improve iodine nutrition for the millions of people in Sudan, protecting the brain development and IQ of children and reducing the prevalence of goiter. IGN, in collaboration with UNICEF, is providing strategic and technical assistance to the government and the salt industry on issues such as legislation, quality control and enforcement, and improving capacity of the salt industry.