Family Security

Family security is essential to good health. When you, your children, and other family members are not surrounded by a physically and emotionally secure environment, everyone in the family is at risk for ill health. Stress resulting from concerns about lack of family security, affects mental and physical wellness.

Domestic violence in the form of child or spousal abuse, sexual assault or verbal and psychological abuse can present long-term damaging effects to the African-American family unit. In African countries that have experienced civil wars, rape of women and children, there has been a direct correlation between family insecurity and health problems.

The National Coalition For Domestic Violence works within the United States to support survivors of domestic violence. There website is:

Safe Horizon supports men and women survivors of domestic violence. Their website is:

The Clark County Prosecuting Attorney highlights support for male survivors of domestic violence. Their website is:

The Childhelp National Child Abuse Hotline’s website is :

Covenant House began its services to homeless and runaway youth in 1972. They have been successful in assisting at risk youth to transition to secure lifestyles. Their website

An international agency that works to prevent violence against women and children is:

Financial Security is Essential to Good Health.

Lack of finances to manage bills can cause stress that affects our mental and physical wellness. Considering this fact, it is important for families to realize that their financial security is also an important component of good health. African-American families of all types can benefit from effective strategies in financial management.

Recent immigrants may have loved ones in their home countries who need their financial support. First, second and third generation African-Americans also have to learn to navigate through the increasingly expensive cost of living. The public libraries in your community can offer free financial management counseling, tax preparation, investment counseling, and writing business plans.

There is no effort more effective than family self-responsibility in financial security. AAW welcomes your stories.

Housing Security

Housing security is essential to good health. Loss of a stable home is very stressful. Unmanageable stress has been proven to weaken the body and possibly lead to physical and mental illness. Having the peace of mind that comes from a secure home environment is essential to maintaining mental and physical health. It is important for families to realize how much an insecure home environment can be damaging to their overall wellness.

Fortunately in the United States, there are established agencies that can be of service when families are threatened with loosing their home or have difficulties finding a home. The Office of Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity (FHEO) is a U.S. government agency that assists families in getting the housing environment they desire. FHEO fights against housing discrimination due to race, color, or religion. For more information, FHEO website is

African –American families who are recent immigrants to the Unites States often have relatives in their home countries who do not have housing security. Displaced relatives due to civil war or poverty can interfere with the mental and physical health of everyone involved.

For African –American families with loved ones remaining in their home countries, there are non-profit international agencies that can assist with secure housing needs. The International Rescue Committee (IRC) established in 1933 has provided housing assistance in over 40 countries. The IRC website is: Habitat for Humanity has built thousands of secure homes in the United States and worldwide for individuals displaced by poverty, social conflicts and civil wars. Habitat For Humanity’s website is :

There is no effort more effective than self-responsibility in home security. Individual families must establish their plans to maintain their stable homes to maintain family health. AAW welcomes your stories.

Pregnancy & Childbirth

Pregnancy & Childbirth: U.S. Spends $26.2 Billion Annually On Premature BirthsAccording to the Institute of Medicine (IOM) Preterm birth costs the United States government 26 billion dollars per year, $51,000 per premature baby. The March of Dimes notes costs of premature birth as 26.2 billion annually. The March of Dimes also notes that 1 in 9 babies in the United States is born prematurely. Premature birth is infant birth before 37 weeks gestation. A healthy birth should take place between 37 and 40 weeks gestation.

Communities with a higher population of African-Americans have been noted as to have higher incidences of preterm labor and birth. Mothers who have experienced premature births are more likely to deliver prematurely with subsequent births. Incidents of sexually transmitted infection (STI), poor nutrition, as well as poor lifestyle habits (smoking, overuse of alcohol, drug abuse) are noted as factors leading to preterm labor and premature birth. Incidents of preterm labor in the United States have more to do with poor lifestyle choices than ethnicity.

The March of Dimes notes that worldwide 15 million babies are born prematurely every year. In African countries, the incidences of preterm labor and premature birth are outcomes due to poor nutrition, poverty, undiagnosed sexually transmitted infections (STI). Alcohol abuse and cigarette smoking among women in the United States are major factors leading to premature births.

The long-term effects of premature birth can result in mentally and physically disabled adults. What will be the future productivity of mentally and physically challenged adults? The long-term effects of premature labor and birth present an increase in health care costs due to children and adult special needs management.

The countries in Africa with the greatest numbers preterm births annually are: Nigeria –665,080; and Democratic Republic of Congo–291,750, compared to the United States –438,410. Note that the United States documents more premature births than the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Preventing premature birth is an investment in the future health and wellbeing of families. “We know what it takes to address the challenge of prematurity and we are committed to bringing partners together behind proven, affordable solutions,” says UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon who launched The Global Strategy for Women’s and Children’s Health in 2010. The Global Strategy is supported by Every Woman Every Child, an umbrella movement that has already leveraged more than $20 billion in new money and aims to save the lives of 16 million babies by 2015. World Prematurity Day is November 17.

For Your Information (FYI) on preventing premature birth and keeping babies healthy, visit the following websites: The March of Dimes has been a leader in healthy pregnancies and babies for many years. Visit their website for information on their campaign against premature births. The American College of Nurse Midwives (ACNM)gives information on the importance of midwives to healthy prenatal care as well as resources on prenatal care. Childbirth Connection gives information on latest research on prenatal care and gives resources for healthy pregnancy.

NICHD SIDS online course Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) is more common in premature babies due to immature respiratory systems. To educate yourself on SIDS prevention, take this free on-line course on SIDS at this website. The course was designed for healthcare providers but is useful for anyone interested in SIDS prevention. Women Deliver is an global organization dedicated to improving the health and wellbeing of girls and women. For a global perspective on maternal and infant care as well as women’s healthcare needs, visit their website. is another website which gives a global perspective on the healthcare of women and children. This website was spearheaded by Ban Ki-moon, UN Secretary General.