To assess the iodine status among women of reproductive age and school-age children in Burkina Faso and to identify factors associated with iodine status, including the availability of adequately iodized salt at the household level.
A cross-sectional household survey was conducted using a probability sample to produce region-representative estimates of the household coverage of adequately iodized salt and iodine status among women and children. Other information, such as socio-economic status, residence, age, consumption of iodine supplements was collected. In total, 3’782 households were included in the survey.
National coverage with adequately iodized salt was only 24%, with close to 60% of salt samples containing some but insufficient amounts of iodine. The median urinary iodine concentrations indicated adequate status for non-pregnant non-lactating women (112 µg/L), borderline status for school-aged children (99 µg/L) and inadequate status for lactating (70 µg/L) and pregnant women (74 µg/L). There was a marked decline in iodine status from the West to the East of the country. This decline coincided with decreased proportions of households using adequately iodized salt. Urinary iodine status was strongly and positively associated with the presence of adequately iodized salt in households.
Despite high household coverage with iodized salt, coverage with adequately iodized salt is low, with important geographic disparities. This and the fact that subjects from households consuming adequately iodized salt consistently show better urinary iodine status clearly demonstrates the continued importance of adding iodine to table salt as the most important and cost-effective intervention to improve iodine status in Burkina Faso.