life saving dotIn rural India, many people face iodine deficiency. Now, there’s a simple, innovative solution to this problem: the Life Saving Dot. The Life Saving Dot is an iodine-soaked bindi, a traditional dot worn on the center of the forehead for various cultural, religious and cosmetic reasons. This project was started by an Indian medical research center and Grey for Good (the philanthropic side of Grey Advertising) with the goal that women in rural India would receive their daily iodine dose simply by wearing the bindi.


Bindis are small dots worn between the eyebrows of a woman to signify marriage in Hindu tradition. The practice began in the third and fourth centuries to represent the third eye. Now, however, it is popular for all women of all ages, not just those who are married. Though they can be different sizes, shapes, and colors, bindis still hold tremendous cultural significance for women in India.

Urgent Health Concern: Iodine Deficiency

Iodine deficiencies impact 2 billion people worldwide. These deficiencies cause a plethora of health problems, including:

  • Brain damage
  • Breast cancer
  • Pregnancy complications
  • Hypothyroidism, which can cause heart failure, depression, and impaired ovulation

In fact, iodine deficiencies are the biggest global cause of preventable brain damage. A common way to increase iodine intake is by eating seafood. However, many women in India are vegetarians, so their diets prevent them from getting the iodine they need. The soil in many remote mountainous areas also tends to be iodine-poor. In particular, pregnant women need more iodine than other groups. While other treatments such as iodine supplements exist, they are expensive and not accessible for many residents of developing countries. Enter the Life Saving Dot project.

The Life Saving Dot

The Life Saving Dot’s adhesive comes with 150-200 micrograms of iodine. By wearing the bindi throughout the day, a woman receives 12% of her daily iodine dose. Even this is a vast improvement from previous rates of iodine intake.

The bindis work essentially the same as a nicotine patch, and they are cheap to produce. One pack costs only two rupees, which means it is very affordable for women in these rural locations. The initial study tested it in the state of Maharashtra, where women make an average of 20 to 30 rupees a day.

The Life Saving Dot’s Limitations

Luckily, no negative side effects have been reported. In contrast, many women have reported fewer headaches as a result of the increased amount of iodine in their system. The Life Saving Dot seems to be a safe, easy and cheap solution to iodine deficiency.

The only problem is that bindis are generally not worn by men or people belonging to a religion other than Hinduism. Women tend to face iodine deficiencies more frequently than men due to pregnancy and birth, which exacerbate symptoms. However, many men would still benefit from more iodine. Another solution will have to be created for them, but the Life Saving Dot is a great start. Not only is it delivering a much-needed nutrient to an often-ignored population, but it is also helping to spread awareness about iodine deficiencies across the world.

Fiona Price
Photo: Pixabay

5 Brilliant Inventions Helping Fight Global PovertySome of the world’s greatest inventors are not those who build flying cars or the latest smartphones; they are those who use their inventions to help people in need. Across the globe, people live without access to clean water, food and sanitation. Inventors have recognized these dire situations and have put their talents to the test in the ultimate fight against poverty. Through trial and error, determination and compassion for others, innovators have used their abilities to design brilliant inventions helping fight global poverty.

The Shoe That Grows

Across the globe, children in poverty-stricken conditions fall victim to illness and disease. Over 1.5 billion people suffer from diseases transmitted from the soil. Bare feet, believe it or not, can kill. The majority of children living in poverty do not have shoes. Those that have been fortunate enough to receive donated pairs eventually grow out of them and walk around with no protection at all. The Shoe That Grows addresses this problem head-on.

Through a unique design of adjustable notches and snaps, the shoe continues to grow with the child. In total, the shoe can expand up to five different sizes. A five-year-old child using The Shoe That Grows will typically be able to wear the same shoe until they turn nine years old. This solution to bare feet prevents the soil-transmitted disease from wreaking havoc and averts injuries to the feet.

Life Saving Dot

Thousands of women in rural India suffer from iodine deficiency, a problem caused by a lack of iodine in the human body. Iodine deficiency in women can lead to breast cancer, disease and complications with pregnancies. India’s primarily vegetarian diet and poor levels of iodine in the soil has led to high levels of iodine deficiency, primarily in women. The Life Saving Dot helps restore iodine balance in the human body to prevent disease.

Made to mimic an Indian bindi, women wear the Life Saving Dot between their eyebrows. The device supplies the wearer with a sufficient amount of iodine each day. It is fairly inexpensive to buy, only costing around 10 rupees for a pack of 30 dots.


Impoverished families across the globe depend on milk, not only for nutritional support but also for income. The transportation of milk, however, is tricky and can lead to spills, spoilage and contamination. Mazzi allows for easier and cleaner transportation of milk.

Through a durable, 10-liter plastic container, people transport milk from the farm to the family or to the market. The container has a wide mouth that allows for a large collection of milk. The container itself is spill-proof and keeps the milk fresh as it is transported from one place to another. It is also easy to clean, reusable and cost-efficient.


Summers in Bangladesh can be unbearably hot, often leading to higher rates of heat strokes and dehydration. Residents of Bangladesh live in houses with roofs that enhance the temperature of the sun, sometimes reaching up to 45 degrees Celsius, or 113 degrees Fahrenheit, inside of their homes. Air conditioning is, unfortunately, not a luxury that Bangladesh residents have. To combat the extreme temperatures in an environmentally conscious way, Eco-Cooler was born.

Developed as a low-cost cooling system, the Eco-Cooler is made entirely out of recycled plastic bottles that draw cool air into homes. Plastic bottles cut in half are placed onto a board, which is then placed on the wall, acting like a window. The bottles compress hot air, cool it down, and drastically decrease the inside temperatures, sometimes by as much as 40 degrees Fahrenheit.

Embrace Warmer

According to Embrace Global, more than 1 million infants die every year on the day of their birth and 98 percent of those deaths occur in impoverished countries. The main cause of those deaths? Hypothermia. Infants in developing countries are more susceptible to hypothermia as a result of premature and low-weight births. Embrace Warmer is a unique invention intended to combat the increasing numbers of infant mortality in developing countries.

The Embrace Warmer acts like an infant sleeping bag. It helps regulate a newborn baby’s body temperature during the first few days of their life. The warmer keeps the child warm, does not depend on electricity, is cost-effective, portable and above all, safe. The Embrace Warmer has helped save the lives of 200,000 hypothermic infants in developing countries.


These five inventions helping fight global poverty prove that innovation has the power to help those in need. It is through these unique and brilliant inventions that progress is attained.

 – Jacey Reece
Photo: Flickr

a new kind of bindiWhether wealthy or poor, the women of India are proud of their heritage and embrace their unique culture. One of the most noticeable components of Indian women’s culture is the bindi. While the rest of the world views it as a simple accessory, this tiny dot that sits in the middle of the woman’s forehead is a key element of reflecting Hinduism. Today the bindi is capable of being more than a religious adornment. The Life Saving Dot is a new kind of bindi that provides its wearer with a daily dose of iodine.

Iodine Deficiency in India

Iodine Deficiency Disorder, or IDD, is especially common in India due to the lack of iodized soil and nutrition. The Life Saving Dot has not only directly improved women’s health, but has also brought attention to the importance of including iodine in the everyday diet.

IDD is common especially in India for a number of reasons. The soil in India is famous for its lack of iodization, leaving crops with an insufficient amount of iodine. A majority of Indians favor a vegetarian diet and rarely eat seafood, which is another important source of iodine. A lack of iodized nutrition and a simple lack of awareness are the main contributors to IDD in India.

Iodine deficiency leads to a number of health issues. It is the largest contributor to brain damage which is often permanent. IDD is especially common among women as it affects pregnancy and can lead to breast cancer. Although IDD can have severe consequences, the disorder itself is easily preventable with a sufficient daily dose of iodine.

The Life Saving Dot: How it Works

The technology of the Life Saving Dot is comparable to that of a nicotine patch. The wearer absorbs the nutrients through her skin while wearing the patch. The Life Saving Dot provides the wearer with 150 to 200 micrograms of iodine when worn for at least four hours. While most women wearing the Life Saving Dot report beneficial results, the effectiveness of the dot will depend on certain factors such as skin thickness and even weather. The precipitation level of the current climate has the potential to affect the effectiveness of the dot.

This small dot has had a tremendous impact on the overall health of Indian women. Women wearing this bindi have reported a decrease in headaches, a common side effect of iodine deficiency. Costing only 10 rupees (equivalent to 16 cents in USD) for a pack of 30 dots, it is easily accessible to women of all income levels in India.

Impact of the Life Saving Dot

While the Life Saving Dot has a clearly direct impact on women’s health, perhaps the most important success of the dot is the awareness it created. The greatest contributor to IDD in India is a simple lack of awareness of the importance of iodine. An easy and effective way to combat iodine deficiency is by cooking with iodized salt. However, a significant number of Indian households were unaware of its importance.

India has made great progress in the search for IDD alleviation. According to a recent survey conducted from October 2018 to March 2019, awareness of iodized salt benefits is at 62.2% in urban areas and 50.5% in rural areas. Out of the 21,406 households included in the survey, 76.3% now have iodized salt in the home.

Awareness of iodine necessity increased due to media and the efforts of the Life Saving Dot. This new kind of bindi allows women to represent their proud culture while protecting their health. The direct health benefits of the Life Saving Dot are awe-inspiring and the awareness it presents is life-saving. By improving the awareness of the importance of incorporating iodine into one’s diet, families are protected from goiter, pregnancy complications and even brain disorders. Thanks to a small dot on the forehead, Indian women and their families are protected from IDD and the potential health risks it brings.

– Brittany Carter 
Photo: Flickr

Life Saving Dot: The New Bindi
Women in India have been sporting small dots between their eyebrows since the third or fourth century. The mark is called a bindi and is a Hindu tradition.

Historically, it has been worn for religious purposes or to show that a woman is married. Today, women of all ages wear the bindi just as a beauty mark.

A nonprofit organization based in Nashik, India has come up with a new reason to wear the bindi. The Neelvasant Medical Foundation and Research Center, in partnership with Grey Group Singapore, a company that makes advertisements, wants the bindi to become a source of iodine.

The two organizations initiated the Life Saving Dot program that coats bindis with a full daily recommended dose of iodine. Dr Prachi Pawar is the leader of the project. He explains that the skin can absorb the essential micronutrient, but the nonprofit is still studying just how efficient the dots are.

“It would have been more satisfying—and convincing—if [the organizers] had done a bit of work beforehand to show that it actually delivers iodine,” says Michael Zimmerman. He is a nutrition researcher for the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich.

Roland Kupka is a micronutrient senior adviser for UNICEF. He points out that no one knows for sure if the iodine stays on the bindi. There is a chance that it might evaporate off when women spend time in the sun.

India is one of 54 countries struggling with iodine sufficiency. The soil there lacks iodine and, therefore, so do the crops. Iodized salt is unavailable to a third of all families in the country. According to UNICEF, 66 percent of families worldwide have access.

Iodine is necessary for the manufacture of thyroid hormones. For pregnant women, it is crucial for the development of the fetus’ brain. Iodine deficiency is the greatest cause of preventable but irreversible brain damage in the world. It also causes depression and weight gain in adults. Children can suffer from mental health issues like retardation and even death.

So far, more than 30,000 women in about 100 villages throughout India have been given the special iodine bindis. The organizations are starting to plan a system to produce and distribute them on a large scale.

If the Life Saving bindis are successful at administering iodine, they will be an affordable nutritional supplement: 10 repees, about 16 cents, for a package of 30 bindis.

The Neevlasant Medical Foundation and Research Center is a nongovernmental organization that strives to support rural and tribal parts of India and other developing countries. Started in August of 2005, they have specific programs for health, environment conservation, finance, child/women development, mental health and water conversation.

– Lillian Sickler

Sources: NPR, YouTube, Neelvasant Foundation, Indian Journal of Medical Research, Huffington Post, The Times of India, WHO
Photo: Health Life

In India, 350 million people are at risk for iodine deficiency. Iodine deficiency leads to a variety of harmful conditions in adults, including hypothyroidism, goiter, an increased risk for breast cancer, and brain damage. In the unborn children of mothers with a deficiency, the condition results in a condition known as fetal hypothyroidism, improper conditioning of the gland in unborn children which can result in cognitive birth defects and even stillbirth.

So when Grey for Good, a charitable branch of the Singapore-based Grey Group, offered a solution to the problem, it needed to be innovative in combatting this very real public health risk. What they noticed is this: many Indian women wear a bindi, or a small red dot in the center of the forehead, for cultural or religious reasons. With this came an idea: is there a way to use the cultural trend to combat the condition?

Grey for Good teamed up with Indian NGO Neelvasant Medical Foundation and Research Center to begin distributing affordable bindis which double as iodine supplements. Called Life Saving Dot, or Jeevan Bindi, the back of each bindi is coated in iodine, creating a “patch” which can deliver up to 150 micrograms of iodine through the skin over the course of eight hours, which is the recommended amount of iodine for women.

Life Saving Dot is also affordable. A pack of 30 bindis is sold for 10 rupees, or just 16 cents. Perhaps this is why the bindis have reached over 300,000 women in 100 villages that the Indian government has deemed at risk for iodine deficiency.

In distributing Life Saving Dot, Grey for Good has taken an innovative approach to solve a problem, uniting medicine, technology, business and culture as a force for good. By bringing these things together, they have created a truly modern solution to the problem of iodine deficiency.

Andrew Michaels

Sources: Take Part, NPR, UpWorthy, Global Healing Center
Photo: Life Saving Dot/Facebook