In 1960, Dr. Rodrigo Fierro Benitez began to investigate the effects of iodine deficiency on physical growth, neuromotor development, and intellectual capacity in rural populations of the high Andean region of Ecuador. He discovered that the severity of idodine deficiency was a much bigger problem than was widely understood. Even though the international community had proposed iodized salt as a solution, little progress had been made in this region.
In 1966, Dr. Fierro Benitez and his collaborators began using iodated oil injections at the community level as an alternative method of treatment and prevention of iodine deficit disorders, which include goiter and cretinism. This alternative was adopted throughout Latin America and worldwide where salt iodization was not possible. Dr. Fierro Benitez was also active in implementing a salt iodation program in Ecuador, which came to be considered as a model for the Americas.
Dr. Fierro Benitez has trained most of the endocrinologists in Ecuador, and has been a major contributor to scientific and public health meetings throughout Latin America and the world.
Information as of 1993