Monday, January 15, 2018

Women's Health Care

I cannot independently verify the following statistics, but I CAN personally attest to the huge need that exists for women's health care in the poorest countries where HealthEd Connect works.  I will never forget an elderly, wizened, little lady in the DR Congo that came up to me many years ago with a baby in her arms.  I thought she was the baby's grandmother until she looked at me imploringly and said, "This is my 14th child and I'm worn out.  Can you do anything to help me?"    Unfortunately, there were no family planning facilities I could send her to.  Her plea has haunted me ever since.  I wasn't able to help her but she has certainly motivated me to do everything within my power to make family planning available for women I encounter today.  Like women everywhere, they desperately want babies....just not so many so close together.  Unfortunately, the decisions we make in the U.S. can have devastating impacts on women in the DR Congo and other needy places.

Shortly after taking office, the Trump administration reinstated the Global Gag Rule, designed to cut US funding to any organization that provides abortion services. While every Republican administration since Reagan has promulgated the policy (and every Democratic withdrawn it), Trump's expanded version is more disastrous for global health than any prior iteration. Not only does it cut funding to organizations for abortions, it slashes all US government funding - close to $9 billion - to organizations that offer a range of non-abortion related health services if they also provide, refer, or even just counsel about abortion. This expansion means essential health care for diseases such as HIV, malaria, tuberculosis, and cervical cancer will be denied. 

Printed in the Hesperian Society 
online bulletin January 11, 2018:

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Oh those vaccinations!

This baby doesn't know it now but it just received one of the biggest gifts available to children throughout the world -- vaccinations.  Josephine, the Wasaidizi health worker supervisor in DR Congo, was recently trained by the government and appointed as an immunization coordinator in her area of Lubumbashi.  She said she was chosen because of her long volunteer service to HealthEd Connect.

We're making huge strides in vaccinations throughout the world.

According to WHO:

During 2016, about 86% of infants worldwide (116.5 million infants) received 3 doses of diphtheria-tetanus-pertussis (DTP3) vaccine, protecting them against infectious diseases that can cause serious illness and disability or be fatal. By 2016, 130 countries had reached at least 90% coverage of DTP3 vaccine.

Wednesday, January 3, 2018

Bikers Soldier Through!

Dan Mahlik and friends

A couple of months ago, Dan Mahlik, husband of one of our Board members, decided to host a HealthEd Connect event of his own.  He invited several guys to join him for a weekend of good eats and bike riding on his farm in Wisconsin.  The guys came -- and so did the rain!  But they soldiered through the weather and rode on.  Of course, there's no such thing as a free lunch, so Dan 'charged' them for the weekend by collecting donations for HealthEd Connect.

  What a great idea to replicate for the new year -- exercise, fun, and food all rolled into one!

Wednesday, December 27, 2017

Happy New Year!

You may have the new tax code figured out but I sure don't!!

As we bid 2017 adieu, we send our heartfelt and grateful thanks for making this an incredible year of change and progress.  You, our faithful supporters, have helped change the course of countless lives and communities.  What a team!

We've been following the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) closely knowing it will impact charities such as HealthEd Connect.  We thought you might find the explanation provided by the Truman Heartland Community Foundation (below) helpful in answering the question, "What is likely to be the impact of TCJA on me next year?"

  1. Rates - The current seven rates are slightly reduced for most taxpayers. The seven TCJA rates range from 10% to 37%. The 37% bracket applies to taxpayers with income over $600,000 if married and $500,000 if single.
  1. Capital Gains - The capital gains rules have largely been retained. The rate is 0% for low income taxpayers, 15% for those in the 22% or higher income tax bracket and 20% for married couples with income over $480,050 and single individuals with income over $426,700. There also is a 3.8% Medicare tax on capital gains for upper-income taxpayers.
  1. Standard Deductions - TCJA nearly doubles the standard deduction for 2018. The standard deduction will be $24,000 for married couples and $12,000 for single individuals. The personal exemptions are repealed.
  1. Mortgage Interest - Homeowners may deduct interest for new loans up to $750,000 on first and second homes. Existing mortgages up to $1 million will be grandfathered.
  1. State and Local Taxes - Taxpayers may deduct up to $10,000 per year in combined property, state income and local income taxes. There is an option to substitute state sales tax for state income tax.
  1. Medical Expenses - The deduction is expanded by reducing the floor to 7.5% of adjusted gross income for 2017 and 2018. The medical expense floor will be 10% starting in 2020.
  1. Alternative Minimum Tax (AMT) - The 2018 AMT exemptions are increased to $109,400 for married couples and $70,300 for single taxpayers.
  1. Child Tax Credits (CTC) - The CTC is increased to $2,000 per child under age 17. There is a $1,400 portion of the credit that is refundable.

Washington News, Published December 22, 2017

Saturday, December 23, 2017

Merry Christmas!

Wishing you a wondrous Christmas like those seen through the
innocent eyes of a child

Thank you for making 2017 a  special year by keeping the Spirit of Christmas alive all year long in the hearts of countless children who have been blessed by your generosity.  They may not have sugar plums dancing in their heads but they have happy tummies from hot porridge lunches!!

                                                             Merry Christmas!

                                                            The HealthEd Connect Team

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Leaders of the Pack!

These are the stellar teachers at the Chipulukusu Young Peace Makers School.  Starting in a one-room church classroom in 2009 with students sitting on the floor, the school has grown to accommodate over 400 students in a state-of-the-art facility.  Three of the teachers have earned teaching diplomas thanks to HealthEd Connect scholarships; the remainder are enrolled in classes pursuing them.

The school has been designated as a Model School by USAID -- these are the teachers that have earned that stellar reputation for the school!  Each year the country of Zambia sponsors a Teacher's Day when schools are closed for holiday and teachers join in parades and celebration.  Our teachers are proudly modeling the new shirts the school provided for the 2017 celebration.

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

What's in your medicine cabinet?

Antibiotic Ointment magic for burns
Most of us have a tube of antibiotic ointment lying unnoticed -- but taken for granted --- in our medicine cabinets.  

Jane, the Kafwa supervisor on the right, recently wrote:

The young child I have attached was burnt only our medicine [the antibiotic ointment we supply]  made him well.  

She went on to say they have used up the last of the ointment but are continuing to help people by making a traditional antiseptic from guava leaves that we teach in our training.

In addition to providing essential first-line aid, Jane and her group are delivering babies at the clinic and have formed a new grief support group for younger orphans that began meeting in November.  She's also conducting a survey "because diseases are changing every year." 

Anyone like to nominate Jane for volunteer of the year?