• iodisation;
  • iodine status;
  • pregnancy;
  • pregnant women;
  • urinary iodine;
  • Niger


Universal dietary salt iodisation (UDSI) programme was implemented in Niger in 1996. However, since 2000, there has been a slowdown in progress against iodine deficiency. The aim of our study was to assess the iodine status among pregnant women in a context where national controls are not effective at ensuring universal availability of adequately iodised salt. This is mainly to assess the impact of the slowdown in the fight against iodine deficiency in this vulnerable group. The study was centred on 240 healthy pregnant women volunteers recruited in three districts primary health centres. A control group of 60 non-pregnant, non-lactating healthy women was also studied and compared. Median urinary iodine concentration (UIC) of all pregnant women was 119 μg L−1, and 61.67% had UIC below 150 μg L−1. Median UIC for the first, second and third trimester were 144, 108 and 92 μg L−1, respectively. The percentage of pregnant women with UIC below 150 μg L−1 increased from 52% in the first trimester to 66% in the third trimester. The median UIC of the control group was 166 μg L−1, and 28.33% had UIC below 100 μg L−1. No significant relationship was found between nutritional iodine status and provenance, age and parity. However, significant relationship was found between iodine status and stage of pregnancy, gestational age and educational level (P < 0.05). Iodine nutrition status thus observed was inadequate in 61.67% of all the pregnant women. It is therefore urgent to revitalise implementation of the UDSI programme, and in the short term to consider iodine supplementation for pregnant women.