What does Bhutan have to do with iodine deficiency disorders (IDD), the Kiwanis and John Tyner II, special assistant to the executive officer at the Center for Scientific Review? Quite a lot, it turns out.
Through its Worldwide Service Project, the Kiwanis have launched a multimillion dollar program in 65 countries and geographic areas to eliminate the scourge of IDD. IDD was once the world's leading preventable cause of mental retardation in children. Third World countries such as Bhutan, located between Tibet and India, are especially hard hit, and many children grow up with goiters and are stunted, apathetic and compromised in intellectual and educational performance. Thanks to the generosity and fundraising efforts of the Kiwanis, the situation is improving dramatically.
Tyner, an active Kiwanian for many years, is chairman of the Worldwide Service Project, Capital district (Delaware, District of Columbia, Maryland, and Virginia); this district has already raised $800,000 for the IDD program. Recently, he was honored by being appointed to a three-person team that was sent to Bhutan by Kiwanis International at the invitation of UNICEF to review the program and to strengthen ties with those involved in this effort.
In Bhutan, the team visited a new salt-iodization plant, funded with Kiwanis dollars, visited schools to observe the educational materials about IDD used in the classroom, and met with the director of the Ministry of Trade and Industry, the health minister and other government officials. They found the program well organized and well managed, and expressed their willingness to recommend continuing support for the program for as long as needed.
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