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Field Diary: Seeing first-hand how iodized salt eliminates iodine deficiency disorder in Cambodia

In 1997, Bona Khoy was a UNICEF Communication Assistant documenting the impact of iodine deficiency disorder in Cambodia. Now a Communication Officer, he recently revisited one family and saw first-hand how iodised salt had a made a difference in their lives.

I first met Sorn Ratha in Toul Monorum village, Kratie province, north-east Cambodia, fifteen years ago, as a UNICEF film maker accompanying programme colleagues, government officials and development partners as they conducted a comprehensive survey on iodine deficiency disorder. Sorn Ratha looked younger than her thirteen years and had a large swelling on the right side of her neck. She had no idea what it was and neither did her sisters aged nine and six, her brother aged four, nor her mother who all had similar swellings. Back then, many people used to think the swellings were caused by swallowing the hard seeds of certain fruit or by working too much.

 

 
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