In the 1990s, during a CDC postdoctoral fellowship, I became aware of the use of fortified salt as a tool to stop lymphatic filariasis (aka elephantiasis). At that time, UNICEF was eager to collaborate in Haiti to help develop a business which would deliver (via salt products) not just the drug to halt transmission of filariasis, but iodine as well. Iodine is a micronutrient important for good health in several ways, perhaps most critically in ensuring brain development for the fetus, and all the way into adulthood. In effect, iodine-fortified salt is essential for maximizing the IQ.
With a robust development of the business under generous funding from the Gates Foundation, we began to market and sell double fortified salt by the mid-2000s—an endeavor that continues today. The Kwasans Foundation’s critical efforts in this regard are something I support wholeheartedly! I’m grateful to be part of the team, but also for the tremendously fruitful commitment to public health, which is the most economical and efficient way to bring a better quality of life to the maximum number of people. The Foundation has been particularly steadfast during these difficult years of increased upheaval in Haiti—and demonstrates that using business to deliver essential healthcare can thrive amidst the most challenging disruptions of standard health delivery systems.