Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Endangered Species

Everyone doesn't always arrive at meetings on time.  Reasons vary from "the alarm didn't go off," to "I couldn't find my keys."  In developing countries, however, the reason is all too often the lack of food.  One of our most dependable Kafwa was late for a recent meeting with the orphan support group at Chipulukusu and when we expressed our concern, one of the other Kafwa said, "She'll be here soon.  She's still looking for food to feed her family this morning."

Mothers are often delayed as they go to the homes of friends and relatives trying to find food to feed their children.  We can -- and MUST -- do better as a global community!  Let's put hunger on the endangered species list now!! 

Thursday, March 23, 2017


Armyworms are on the march and creating havoc.  Lush green fields of maize are now riddled by the pests that have wiped out entire crops this year.  Zambia is the breadbasket of sub-Sahara Africa producing maize for themselves as well as for export to the neighboring countries of Malawi and the Democratic Republic of Congo.  Fears of famine and escalating prices are current topics of conversation at every gathering and no one seems to have an answer as to how to stop the march of the armyworms.

The Zambian government has deployed planes to spray pesticides on the crops but the locals say it is making very little difference since the worms live deep within the maize stalks and are not touched by the chemicals.  Food is never in plentiful supply in many households and this new crisis will certainly not ameliorate an already desperate situation.

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Eat more peanuts; save the fish!

National Nutrition month shines the spotlight on choosing the right food in the right proportions. In the areas where HealthEd Connect works in Zambia, Malawi, and Democratic Republic of Congo, the focus, of necessity is on food to fill the stomach.  Period.

HealthEd Connect is working to change that through kitchen gardens that provide variety and balanced nutrition via basic crops such as leafy greens, peanuts, tomatoes, and corn.  The impact of those efforts is heartening.  Twenty years ago, the importance of ground nuts (peanuts) being introduced as a protein source in the DR Congo resulted in every villager eventually planting a ground nut garden.  The outcome has been people who look and feel healthier even during the non-fishing season when the main source of protein, fish, is protected to maintain a sustainable fish population,

Thursday, March 16, 2017

First 1000 Days

The First Thousand Days of life are absolutely vital!  From the embryo stage when the little heart and tiny brain are formed, to the birth-day when a baby has minutes to learn to breathe, eat, and cry for survival, to the critical weaning period when a two-year old loses its mother's immunity and must adapt to local water -- life is fragile.  Thanks to HealthEd Connect volunteer health workers, mothers have a compassionate and knowledgeable coach to accompany them and their baby along the way.

The importance of the First 1000 Days of a baby's life is the major 2017 thrust for UNICEF.  Upon completion of the 1000 Day workshop session, Josephine Kipampe, DR Congo supervisor, remarked, "It is so gratifying to know we are current and up to date.  We were able to share information about Zika with the government health personnel before they'd heard of it and now we can tell them about this campaign."  

Tuesday, March 14, 2017


Famine is no stranger to Malawi.  Lack of rain, too much rain, and now armyworms that have invaded the maize (corn) crops, have all been identified as causes.  The HealthEd Connect Sinkhani health workers have tirelessly worked for over 20 years to alleviate this problem.  They may not have halted famine but they have brought vital knowledge of alternative foods, such as soy beans, to moms of vulnerable children in the Under 5 Clinics.

One of their favorite and most effective teaching methods is through song.  Lyrics are written to catchy little tunes to make it easier for the moms to learn about nutrition and good health practices.  The lessons are conveniently taught while the moms are waiting in long lines to have their babies weighed at the Under 5 clinics.  Pretty ingenious, those Sinkhani!!

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

International Women's Day

We are proud to link arms with women the world over as we celebrate International Women's Day, March 8, and support the 2017 theme of "Be Bold For Change."

The future of the world literally rests in the arms of women.  To the many unsung heroines around the globe, we salute you with pride and gratitude.

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

The miracle tree

Moringa Trees in School Yard

What has 17 times more calcium than milk and 25 times more iron than spinach?  The tiny little sweet-tasting leaves of the fast-growing Moringa tree!  Often referred to as a miracle tree because of its incredible nutritional value, Moringa is fast becoming a star in the gardens in the HealthEd Connect programs in Zambia.

The first tree seeds were introduced 3 years ago and the trees have now matured and are producing large pods of seeds on their own.  The Zambian Kafwa recently shared bags of these seeds with the Sinkhani health workers in Malawi.

Thursday, March 2, 2017

March National Nutrition month

HealthEd Connect is proud to salute National Nutrition month with the knowledge that 1200 orphans and vulnerable children in Zambia receive daily hot lunches because of our donors.

The traditional cornmeal porridge is alternated daily with a thickened version of porridge (nshima) which is served with fresh leafy greens from the school garden.  Lunch takes on new significance when it's your one and only meal of the day as it is for many children.