Action - Nutrition International - Pakistan - Salt iodization - All population groups

Programme: Nutrition International - Pakistan

Programme description

We consume iodine in our foods. When plants and animals are raised in areas with iodine-deficient soil, the diet for those people will be less healthy, resulting in populations suffering from iodine deficiency disorders (IDD).[1]  Iodine deficiency is a leading cause of mental impairment and therefore Iodine offers protection to the growing brain.[2]

In many middle to high income countries, the problem of iodine deficiency has largely been solved by adding iodine to salt, which then makes it into animal feed, breads, processed foods and salt shakers in homes around the world. Salt iodization is considered the most successful type of food fortification.[2] That said, in 2017, 1 billion people globally did not have access to iodized salt.[3]

Supporting efforts to achieve universal salt iodization (USI) is Nutrition International’s main strategy to help eliminate IDD. This means that all edible salt, for households, processed foods and animal salt, is adequately iodized based on how much the general population consumes. Nutrition International (NI) works in collaboration with the government of Pakistan and partners to improve the legislative, policy and regulatory environments for salt iodization.  NI works with the salt industry to build its capacity to comply with regulations.  NI seeks to foster greater government ownership and commitment for USI programs to ensure long-term sustainability. 

The areas of NI support for Salt Iodization in Pakistan include:

1. Building the capacity of the government quality control authorities in effective monitoring, quality control and enforcement:

  • Helping the government in developing iodization standards harmonized with global best practices and drafting legislation and regulation for enforcement.
  • Strengthening and/or establishing quality control laboratories.
  • Strengthening border surveillance points in salt importing countries.
  • Facilitating the establishment of technical working groups within the aegis of the Ministry of Health at the Federal and Provincial level to monitor the progress of the USI program.

2. Strengthening the capacity of small and medium-scale salt producers in the:

  • Improvement of the iodization process, technology and internal quality control.
  • Establishment of a market driven KIO3 procurement and supply system coupled with a viable cost recovery system through revolving fund mechanisms.

3. Contributing to the global evidence base and to the development of global standards and guidelines

4. Advocacy and Behaviour Change Interventions

These activities are being implemented in partnership with the Ministry of National Health Services, Regulation and Coordination; the Ministry of Planning & Development at the federal level; Departments of Health, Food and other line departments at provincial and district level; Salt Processors; World Food Programme and UNICEF. This project is being implemented sub-nationally in 110 of 140 Districts across Pakistan. NI began work with salt fortification in Pakistan in the mid 2000’s and work is ongoing. 

Programme type



  1. Zimmermann, M. B. (2011). Iodine deficiency disorders. Oxford Medicine Online. doi:10.1093/med/9780199235292.003.3109
  2. WHO.Guideline: fortification of food-grade salt with iodine for the prevention and control of iodine deficiency disorders. Geneva: World Health Organization; 2014. 
  3. UNICEF. (n.d.). UNICEF Data: Monitoring the Situation of Children and Women. Retrieved from

For more information:

Target group: 
All population groups

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Mon, 10/22/2018 - 18:10zillmerkpublishedpublished
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