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Copenhagen Consensus Center

Samia Khatun's Story

Micronutrient Fortification and Biofortification

When Samia Khatun first started suffering from a severe stiffness in her body at age 18, the hospital misdiagnosed her. Her family spent an entire month’s earnings on medicine that did not make her any better.

“I wasn’t able to eat properly,” 21-year-old Samia says. “I couldn’t swallow anything -- it hurt. Quite often, I would get nasal bleeding. I was weak.”

Six months ago, she was finally diagnosed with goiter by Calcutta Rescue, and treatment began.

Goiter is generally painless, but in many cases can affect working abilities and performance at school or work. It can cause symptoms such as constant coughing, poor memory, difficulty concentrating and the sensation that food is getting stuck in the upper throat.

Goiter is caused by iodine deficiency. It can be prevented simply by ensuring access to iodized salt, a preventive measure that remains lacking in a third of developing world households, but that costs just US .05 or €0.03 a year per person.

Based on an interview by Devjyot Ghoshal. Photographs by Devjyot Ghoshal.

Samuel Nderitu's Story

This year the weather has been kind to Samuel Nderitu. For the last three years, his farm in a rural area north of Nairobi has lacked rain.