Friday, October 11, 2019

International Day of Girl Child

Here's to the strong girls every where, who courageously walk hand in hand in the role assigned them by society while dreaming BIG dreams for tomorrow.  The world is making slow but steady headway on leveling the playing field for girls.  But there's still a long way to go.  

You Go Girls!!

When girls are educated, empowered, healthy and free from violence and discrimination, their communities are more prosperous and stable. Investing in gender equality is not just the right thing to do – it’s the smart thing to do. But girls around the world still face lifelong gender-based inequalities that begin in childhood.                                                           -Save the Children

Tuesday, October 8, 2019


Jane holding baby while clinic worker gives immunization
HealthEd Connect actively supports the health workers in Malawi, Zambia, and DRC who are diligently working to encourage moms to have their babies immunized.  They've made great strides in overcoming fears and superstitions and in the last 6 months alone worked with the government clinics to immunize 11011 babies.  Great job!!
While the developing world is making great strides, the U.S. seems to be going backwards. 
An article by Nurith Aizenma in the Sept. 5 issue of Goats and Soda had the following sobering report:
There's mounting evidence that when a person is infected with measles, the virus also wipes out the immune system's memory of how to fight off all sorts of other life-threatening infections – ranging from gastro-intestinal bugs that cause diarrhea to respiratory viruses that trigger pneumonia.
"All of the sudden you end up having not just more outbreaks of measles, but you might have more outbreaks of rubella or flu or any number of other diseases," says Dr. Michael Mina, a Harvard professor who has authored some of the most ground-breaking research into this so-called "immune-amnesia" effect from measles.

Tuesday, October 1, 2019

Poverty and Water

Washing dishes in stagnant water

One of our health workers in Luapula, Zambia, recently sent this picture of a client she was visiting who has been ill.  When she arrived at the visit, she found the mother, knee deep in a stagnant pool of water, washing her dishes in the cloudy water. It is no mystery why people constantly fight illnesses caused by unsafe water. 

According to The Water Project, nearly one billion people do not have access to clean, safe water.  If you do the numbers, that means about 1 in 8 people in our world are affected.  For women, this is particularly daunting as they try to safeguard the health of their family and carry out the duties of everyday living.

This is a problem that cannot be solved over night but is, without question, solvable!!  We just need to work together address the problem one community at a time.

Tuesday, September 24, 2019

Adult Literacy

Jane in school uniform

 Jane [the one who had the severe toothache reported on in last blog] is now recovered and back to school.  At the completion of this school term in December, she plans to enroll in the 12th grade in January to finish her high school diploma.  She is hoping to simultaneously enroll in the first year of a nursing program while completing grade 12!  Fortunately, HealthEd Connect has nursing scholarships that allow dreams like Jane's to come true.

While pursuing school, Jane has responsibilities as a single parent of two young daughters, supervises an active Kafwa program that monitors babies, organizes programs for orphans, conducts regular home care visits, and teaches unschooled children the basics of literacy.  Whew!  Wonder what she does in her spare time?

Tuesday, September 17, 2019

Even Caregivers need Care

Justine comforting Jane (red dress)

Jane, the amazing Kafwa supervisor in the rural area of Luapula, Zambia, reported last week she was suffering from a toothache so severe it prevented her from going about her usual activities.  She was unable to eat, felt dizzy when she stood up, and was in constant pain.  The caregiver was in need of care herself!  Her sister, Justine, finally came to care for her until she recovered.

The question many would ask is "why doesn't she go to a dentist?"  Good question.  The answer, however, is not so simple.  First of all, there are no dentists in the rural area where she lives.  She has to travel a long distance to visit one.  Second, the money required to visit a dentist is prohibitive for most people in Jane's area.  As a health worker, Jane is fortunate to have HealthEd Connect emergency funds available for situations such as hers but she still needs to travel to acquire the care.  She assures us she is in the process of making arrangements to visit a dentist this week.
In the meantime, she asked for suggestions on things she could do to alleviate the pain.  I told her nothing would permanently relieve the pain until she visited a dentist to have the problem fixed.  There are, however, some effective traditional remedies I suggested she try (see below).  

  • Add 1/2 teaspoon salt to a glass of water and swish it in your mouth several times a day.  This will help cleanse the tooth, reduce inflammation, and loosen food that might have gotten stuck.
  • Chew on guava leaves and then spit them out or make a tea with guava leaves and swish it in your mouth.  If there's an infection, the guava leaves will help fight the infection since it fights microbes.
  • Pound a piece of garlic into a paste and apply it to the tooth that is aching.  The garlic helps reduce inflammation, relieves pain, and fights microbes.
She replied the guava leaves were the most effective.  For those of you interested in traditional medicine, Google guava leaf effectiveness and you will find a number of research studies being conducted at various universities demonstrating the antibacterial properties of guava.

Tuesday, August 27, 2019

Life-threatening smoke

Cooking stove smoke

The smoke from cooking stoves in rural Nepal areas continues to cause untold respiratory disease and distress.  The village woman pictured above is in an outdoor area that is ventilated but in the winter time, most women cook inside their homes  where smoke accumulates and becomes a major health hazard.

Cooking smoke is the next big issue we're planning to tackle in Nepal.  Pinkey, the Nepali supervisor, and Sangeeta,  one of our volunteers and a professional nurse, are working together to identify acceptable alternatives that vent the smoke.  Stay tuned for updates!

Tuesday, August 13, 2019

Women's Monthly Challlenge

Animal shelter in  rural Nepal

Pinkey teaching women to make sanitary pads

When Pinkey visited Arunkhola, Nawalparasi District in Nepal last month she encountered an ongoing problem that even today is common in the rural areas.  Many women are relegated to staying with the animals or in small outdoor sheds during their menstrual period.  Those who do not encounter these isolating circumstances still face hardships since the lack of sanitary supplies forces them to miss school and other activities during their monthly period.  

Pinkey took advantage of being in Arunkhola to teach the women how to make sanitary supplies with  moisture proof backing and fabrics that can be reused.  Pinkey's teaching has caught on everywhere with women eager to gain more control over their lives with simple supplies they can make for themselves.