India is a land of extremes, including people living with great wealth and in extreme poverty. Among the rural populations, many women suffer from diseases and chronic conditions that result from a lack of iodine in their diet. This can result in breast cancer, fibrocystic breast disease, and complications during pregnancy. In western cultures, we enjoy iodine supplements in products such as table salt, but a subsistence economy as found in many Indian villages does not include such processed foods.
Grey for Good and the Neelvasant Medical Foundation and Research Center came up with a simple, elegant solution. The bindi is a red dot that many women wear on their foreheads; it is often associated with the Hindu religion but is worn by women from other faiths as well throughout India and Southeast Asia. Traditionally, it is made from a paste that is applied to the forehead using a fingertip. Many women now use small colored plastic dots instead.
The researchers came up with a low-cost way to solve iodine-deficiency. They created patches that can automatically dispense a daily dose of iodine. Known as the “Life Saving Dot,” the bindi patch is a simple wearable HealthTech product that can have far-reaching benefits.