A bindi or an iodine patch?

Apr 8, 2015, 18:54 IST


Combining the best of existing cultural mores and innovative thinking, a new idea now might help millions of Indian women get healthier.


Iodine deficiency is one of the most pervasive health issues that plague Indians, especially in rural areas. The deficiency is more common among Indian women. The cause of many issues like hyperthyroidism, brain damage, goitre and cancer, lack of iodine also affects a woman’s fertility, increases the risk of abortions and the risks of giving birth to physically and mentally challenged children. And with women being last on even their own lists of priorities, even beginning to correct this problem seems insurmountable.

Iodised salt is a solution – but the very concept of lack of iodine and its solution haven’t percolated to the rural spaces and villages. Medicinal supplements are available but their distribution and cost are deterrents. There seemed to be no easy, effective solution - till now.

In partnership with Grey Singapore, the Neelvasant Medical Foundation and Research Centre has come up with an innovative idea to help Indian women get their daily dose of iodine. Through a bindi.

Called Jeevan Bindi, this is a medically enhanced, adhesive bindi that lets women soak up their daily dose of the nutrient through their skin – somewhat similar to a nicotine patch. It can be worn for hours without side effects. Distributed in villages for testing now, this is an ingenious, cheap and yet far-reaching solution to this malnutrition issue. The bindi, a mainstay of Indian women for centuries now, finally has a physical benefit apart from beautification!