Kamidi lives on the slopes of Mount Merapi, one of Java's most active and dangerous volcanoes. He's three foot tall and has the tell-tale signs associated with cretinism: low hair line, bulging eyes, stunted growth -- all associated with iodine deficiency. Still more common are the goiters -- where the thyroid gland in the neck, starved of iodine, grows and grows in an effort to capture more iodine from the sufferer's blood.
20 years ago an Indonesian endocrinologist, injected large numbers of people in the surrounding area with iodine-infused oil. Kamidi was one of his patients. Within weeks he started feeling more energetic. Eventually he even married -- to another cretin, who'd also been treated with the iodine-infused oil. They had a normal child, Rame.
Now a chemistry major at university, Rame recalls, "when I was a child, I used to dream of inventing some cure or treatment to make my father normal." He's passionate about making sure other Indonesians don't suffer the same fate.
Across the world, there are two billion people at risk from iodine deficiency. Apart from the classic symptoms of goiters and cretinism, it also leads to still births and underweight babies, and -- less visible but even deadlier in the long run -- lowers the IQ of sufferers. World Bank figures estimate that up to 5% of global GDP is lost because of the lack of micronutrients like iodine deficiency.
The producer of this program has collected extensive resources at www.tve.org/life/archive/life20main.html
The other titles in the series are:
1. Life: The Story So Far - How the globalized world economy affects ordinary people.
2. Geraldo Off-Line - Globalized economy affects Brazilian factory worker.
3. From Docklands to Dhaka - English MD travels to Bangladesh to improve community health.
4. An Act of Faith: The Phelophepa Health Train - A group of health professionals tours the most deprived regions of South Africa providing care.
5. The Philadelphia Story - Globalized economy affects American jobs.
6. The Boxer - Young male looks to escape Mexican poverty by becoming a boxer in the United States.
7. The Seattle Syndrome - Were the WTO protesters right in their effort to protect workers and the environment from exploitation?
8. The Right to Choose - Women are denied human rights in Ethiopia and northern Nigeria.
9. At the End of a Gun: Women and War - The devastating effect that the civil war in Sri Lanka is having on women.
10. The Summit - The UN General Assembly meets to review progress on social justice worldwide.
11. All Different, All Equal - Examines progress in women's rights globally.
12. India Inhales - Activists combat tobacco companies that target India.
13. The Silver Age - Growing population of elderly worldwide seeks purpose and care.
14. The Cost of Living - AIDS drugs unaffordable in developing countries.
15. The Posse - Rap group in Sao Paulo, Brazil, expresses social problems.
16. Credit Where Credit is Due - Micro-credit organization in Bangladesh provides loans to village poor.
17. Regopstaan's Dream - Bushmen fight to live on ancestral land in South Africa.
18. Untouchable? - The caste system and bonded labor are still alive and well in India.
19. Because They're Worth It - Micro-credit, education, health information, and hope provided to impoverished Chinese.
21. In the Name of Honour - Kurdish women fight for their rights in Northern Iraq.
22. God Among the Children - Community organization works with at-risk youth in Boston.
23. Without Rights - Palestinians are denied human rights.
24. Lost Generations - Poor health and poverty condemn people in India to sub-standard lives.
25. Educating Lucia - The odds are against girls getting an education in Zimbabwe and throughout much of Africa.
26. A-OK? - Examines prospects for Vitamin A distribution programs in Guatemala and Ghana necessary for children's health.
27. Bolivian Blues - Explores the success of new initiative to reduce widespread poverty.
28. The Outsiders - Explores the moral and economic dilemmas that adolescents face in the Ukraine today.
29. The Debt Police - Uganda seeks external debt relief and fights internal corruption.
30. The On-going Story - Final episode examines the international community's commitment to linking social and economic development with human rights.
NOTE: A second series called City Life is now available.
Grade Level: 7-12, College, Adult
US Release Date: 2000
Copyright Date: 2000
DVD ISBN: 1-59458-484-2
VHS ISBN: 1-56029-857-X
"A sickening exposé of the lifelong maladies inflicted upon the Javanese for the lack of a drop of iodine."
Timothy McGettigan, Professor of Sociology, University of Southern Colorado