The bindi, a common ornamental mark that many women in India wear, is now helping save lives. Women in rural India often suffer from many illnesses and nutritional deficiencies, one of which is iodine deficiency, which is easily fixed with supplements. Many women though lack either money or access to the supplement, so Grey for Good, the philanthropic arm of the advertising agency Grey Group Singapore, and the NGO Neelvasant Medical Foundation and Research Centre worked together to create the Life Saving Dot. Also called Jeevan Bindi, the patch features a dose of iodine that can be absorbed directly through the skin and is a convenient part of their current beauty routine.

Millions of people in rural India suffer from diseases related to iodine deficiencies, including breast cancer, fibrocystic breast disease, complications during pregnancies and impaired mental development in children. Iodine supplements are simple and effective, yet many still do not have access to them or the money for them. “Iodine deficiency disorder is a major nutritional problem and the Life Saving Dot is a simple, yet innovative preventive measure to a widespread problem in rural India,” said Ali Shabaz, chief creative officer of Grey Group Singapore. “This programme can easily be extended to reach a larger population of women in India who need this vital mineral for a healthier life.”

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To change that Grey for Good and Neelvasant Medical Foundation and Research Centre teamed up to change the problem through a brilliant campaign using the Bindi. The group developed a bindi patch that includes iodine and by wearing it on the skin, the iodine is absorbed into their system. The Life Saving Dot was then handed out in medical camps across rural India, in villages including Badli (near New Delhi), Niphad-rural (Maharastra), Peth-tribal (Maharastra), and Kopergaon/Sinner (Maharastra). By incorporating the vital nutrient into a common beauty ritual, the program is saving lives.

+ Life-Saving Dot

+ Grey Group

[Via Design Indaba]