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The Bindi That Will Save Lives

Over eight hours, each Jeevan Bindi delivers up to 150 micrograms of iodine through the skin. (Image: Pixabay/CC0 Public Domain)
Over eight hours, each Jeevan Bindi delivers up to 150 micrograms of iodine through the skin. (Image: Pixabay/CC0 Public Domain)

Some Indian women wear a small dot between their eyebrows. It’s called a bindi, and it comes from an ancient Hindu tradition. It symbolizes female energy, and is believed to protect women and their husbands. But with modern medicine, there are hopes it will save lives too.

There are millions of women in rural India who are at risk of iodine deficiency.

This is because they live in areas where crops are grown in iodine-deprived soil, and about a third of the families don’t have access to iodized salt. Some are suffering from breast cancer, fibrocystic breast disease, and complications during pregnancy. In most cases, this is linked to an iodine deficiency.

Life saving dot:

How do we ensure the women in these rural areas get the required dosage of iodine? Almost every Indian woman wears a bindi, an Indian forehead decoration in the form of a dot. With this in mind, Grey Group Singapore’s newly formed philanthropic arm, Grey for Good, collaborated with the NGO Neelvasant Medical Foundation and Research Centre to produce iodine patches, known as the Life Saving Dot, the Grey Group wrote on its website.

The back of each Life Saving Dot, or Jeevan Bindi, is coated in iodine, which turns it into a small iodine patch. Image: Screenshot/YouTube

The back of each Life Saving Dot, or Jeevan Bindi, is coated in iodine, which turns it into a small iodine patch. (Screenshot/YouTube)

According to Up Worthy, Iodine deficiency is the world’s leading cause of brain damage. You don’t hear much about iodine, but its role in the human body is incredibly important. In pregnant women, a lack of iodine can result in cognitive birth defects or stillbirth.

The Neelvasant Medical Foundation and Research Centre of India has coated the backs of bindis with iodine, which will then deliver up to 150 micrograms of iodine through the skin. The problem with using supplements is that they are expensive, with most families unable to afford them. But with Life Saving Dots, it is quite cheap at 10 rupees, or 16 cents for 30 days’ worth of dots.

In pregnant women, a lack of iodine can result in cognitive birth defects or stillbirth. Image: Screenshot/YouTube

In pregnant women, a lack of iodine can result in cognitive birth defects or stillbirth. (Screenshot/YouTube)

According to International Business Times, the group is still conducting research to see how effective the bindis are at delivering iodine to the bloodstream. It’s also important to determine if the iodine will stay on the bindis in hot, dry conditions. So far, the iodine-infused bindis have reached more than 30,000 women in 100 villages.

Hopefully, this will work the way its intended. It’s a great start toward helping the needy.

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