In Nepal, a significant progress in use of adequately iodized salt has been observed from 55% in 1998 NNMSS to 80% in 2011NDHS. However, there are areas where coverage of adequately iodized salt is lower than national coverage. Nepal government is therefore, implementing social mobilization campaign in two districts of far western hill where the use of adequately iodized salt is lowest at 43 percent by addressing key barriers in thedistricts in order to increase coverage.
Social mobilization campaign has been implemented to increase use of adequately iodized salt (with two child logo). A number of behaviour change communication strategies and materials were utilized to create awareness and orientations organized for wholesalers and retailers to ensure availability of the salt. Key organizations working in nutrition field also involved in promotion and monitoring activities at household level and food inspectors of Nepal government mobilized for market monitoring.
The baseline survey conducted in Feb-March 2015 revealed key barriers behind low consumption of adequately iodized salt in the project districts. Based on this information, appropriate behaviour change communication strategies and materials were developed. The on-going process monitoring system at strategically located bulk buyers has started revealing some positive results. The endline survey, scheduled in May 2016, will determine effectiveness of the intervention.
Barriers related to taste, price, availability, etc. hindering use of adequately iodized salt can be overcome by properly designed community based social mobilization campaign. The efforts in the two districts is expected to help achieving USI goal in Nepal.