Stories from the first
Worldwide Service Project:

Iodine Deficiency - What a mother needs to know

Saeeda 

The story of Saeeda: Mother of Two

"If a woman gave birth to a mentally slow child...she would have been blamed for it."

Uttar Pradesh, India: While Saeeda, the mother of a two-year-old, was expecting her second child, she would visit the local health center in Bargadi village, where women volunteers taught her about the importance of iodine for good health. Saeeda's mother has lived all her life with goiter, but thanks to community education and access to iodized salt, both her daughter and granddaughter show no signs of iodine deficiency. 

What Saeeda learned from women volunteers at the health center changed how she took care of herself and her daughter, Musta. Saeeda trusted what these women told her because they were from her own community. Before the people of Saeeda's village learned about iodine deficiency, they thought that those who suffered from goiter got it from drinking well water. And there were similar misconceptions about mental retardation. 

"If a woman gave birth to a a mentally slow child a few years ago, she would have been blamed for it. It would have been seen as a curse. While that may sometimes be true, we also know that this can happen because she ate the wrong salt. The child could also die in her stomach because it doesn't get enough salt. Not all the women in the village believe this. So, the volunteers should come more often and keep telling all the women here about these illnesses."