Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Cleanliness a Health Hazard??

A good dose of dirt may be healthy after all!

The following information is taken from Feb 23, 2017  online The Independent:  Ian Johnston, Science Correspondent in Boston
Speaking at the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science in Boston, Dr Brett Finlay suggested the obsession with hygiene could even be turning some beneficial bacteria found in the human gut into “endangered species”.
In a study in Canada, the researchers had found the presence of four types of bacteria in the gut of babies less than 100 days old seemed to prevent them from developing asthma in later life.
They then decided to see if the same was true for children elsewhere in the world and settled on Ecuador, where about 10 per cent of children have asthma, for their next study.
They found the same protective effect of the four bugs, but also two unexpected factors that increased the risk of the condition: a particular type of yeast in the gut and access to a clean water supply.
Dr Finley, [author of Let Them Eat Dirt] of British Columbia University, said: “Ironically the kids with clean water had a higher risk of asthma. 
“I guess it makes sense [because of the lower levels of bacteria] but I must admit we were surprised to see that. You’d think clean water is good for the world.” 

Saturday, February 25, 2017

Medical support system


How many times did you go to the Dr. this past year?  Annual check-up?  Flu?  Routine tests?  The health care back-up many of us take for granted is not available to the majority of people in the world.

We learned that one of our long-time, loyal Sinkhani health workers in Malawi passed away suddenly this week. We just shared with her in the Malawi health worker training 3 weeks ago when this picture was taken.  We have no details regarding her illness but the odds of her being cared for in a state-of-the-art medical system are nil.

Over the many years Litinesi has served as a Sinkhani, literally hundreds if not thousands of babies and mothers have benefitted from her tireless teaching and monitoring of babies.  Litinesi leaves behind 5 children ages 6 to 17.  She will be deeply missed.

Tuesday, February 21, 2017


When a camera is pulled out in Zambia, someone always shouts  "sakako,"  (Chibemba for laugh or smile).  The kids need little encouragement to do so!

“It is a fair, even-handed, noble adjustment of things, that, while there is infection in disease and sorrow, there is nothing in the world so irresistibly contagious as laughter and good humour.” 
― Charles Dickens, A Christmas Carol

Sunday, February 5, 2017

Homeward bound

We (Lauren, Michelle Mahlik, Jac and Sherri) reluctantly said goodbye to our 28 Sinkhani friends and, with our masterful chauffeur, Jac, made the 5 hour trip back to Lilongwe on less-than-perfect roads, past mud-brick houses, ox carts, herds of cattle crossing the road, and innumerable roadside stands selling tomatoes, potatoes, charcoal, and other items.  We're homeward bound feeling energized after an encouraging and profitable trip.  We're now at the Johannesburg airport ready to board our flight for Frankfurt then to Chicago and finally on to Kansas City.  That's approximately 25 hours in the air...

Friday, February 3, 2017

Chorus Line

This may look like a choreographed chorus line but it's really the Sinkhani lining up for lunch.  They treasure their little HealthEd Connect bags so much they were reluctant to be parted from them even while eating.  The menu?  Nsima (polenta-like staple), dark-green pumpkin leaves, sauce of tomatoes and onions, and the BIG treat -- chicken!

Thursday, February 2, 2017

Drama plus!

Our Sinkhani health workers in Malawi have been a pure delight!  Angela gave an Academy Award worthy performance  today as a harried pregnant mother with an infant on her back and two hungry toddlers hanging onto her skirt.  The Sinkhani sprang into action immediately helping her find the local family planning clinic so she could learn how to space her children.