The bindi–a commonly worn symbol of beauty in India–is now more than a fashion symbol. A health foundation has turned it into an iodine patch that could save lives.
In India, iodine deficiency is huge problem for the country’s poor, causing preventable brain damage and lower IQ in children, complications during pregnancy for mothers, and contributing to diseases like breast cancer. Because there is little iodine in India’s soil–and therefore in its food–the country supplements its salt with the vital micronutrient. But according to a 2013 study, an estimated 350 million people don’t get enough iodized salt in their diet and are at risk of deficiency.
That’s why the Neelvasant Medical Foundation and Research center partnered with Grey for Good, the philanthropic arm of the agency Grey Group Singapore, to create the “Life Saving Dot.” Through the skin, each dot delivers a daily dose of iodine to the women who wear them. The group has distributed the dots in five villages so far.
It seems like a creative idea. but in the long term, making sure everyone can use iodized salt is likely going to be a cheaper and more widely applied solution for everyone.