The revolutionary “Jeevan Bindi” can act as an iodine patch and help millions of women in rural India live a healthier life. Here is all you need to know about the innovative and highly beneficial idea.
Anytime you happen to be in an Indian village and see the women there, one thing you will almost certainly notice on their forehead is a bindi, a small round dot which has several meanings in the Indian context, from religious to spiritual to even cosmetic.
But did you know that the same small bindi can serve as an iodine patch and provide the important mineral to millions of women in rural India, helping them lead healthier lives?
Lack of Iodine is now linked to several life threatening medical conditions including breast cancer, brain damage and several pregnancy-related complications. And in India, unfortunately, iodine deficiency is a grim reality due to the deficiency found in the subcontinent’s soil. Although iodine-fortified salt has been introduced in the country, an estimated 350 million people still do not use it.
Thanks to Singapore-based Grey Group, the bindi can now become much more than just a small dot. They have come up with an idea of the life saving dot, the “Jeevan Bindi”, that can address the widespread issue of iodine deficiency among rural Indian women.
“Millions of women in rural India suffer from life threatening diseases due to lack of iodine in their bodies. They are not even aware of it and don’t even use iodized salt. This idea can address the deficiency in a very simple and effective way,” says Prachi Pawar, President, Neelvasant Medical Foundation and Research Centre.Partner Story#MGChangemakers - Episode 2: THE 21-YEAR JOURNEY OF CHANGE | Driving India Into Future
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Though there are medical supplements to fill this deficiency but most women in Indian villages cannot afford it. Hence, the idea to convert bindis into iodine patches can be revolutionary.
To test this idea and give it a shot, Grey Group’s not-for-profit arm Grey For Good partnered with Maharashtra-based NGO, Neelvasant Medical Foundation and Research Centre to develop an iodine patch bindi under the Talwar Bindi brand in March 2015.
The Talwar bindi has been distributed to several taluks in Maharshtra and Delhi along with tribal areas in Nepal. The team has received an overwhelming response with more and more women showing interest in the unique dot.
The bindi does not have any side effects or cause skin rashes and can be worn for many hours at a stretch. After the iodine of the bindi is absorbed by the body, it becomes a regular dot.
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“We distributed the samples in the villages and got an response. It is just an idea right now. They were specially designed to test the success of such a product. So if someone wants to manufacture it, they can. The idea is out there in the market,” says Pawar.
Now a bindi need not be just a beauty dot but can serve as an everyday product that can save million of lives. That’s the power of ideas!