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By Nancy Deyo                                        Follow East Palo Alto Today on
Wednesday, April 17, 2013                     Facebook    Twitter         Blog    
                                                  
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Saving Our Future Logo
Saving Our Future logo

 

The African Women's Development Fund USA (AWDF USA), a US-based public foundation, today announced Saving Our Future, a multi-media public awareness campaign to mobilize community leadership to address the black infant and maternal mortality crisis in the US and on the African Continent. The campaign will launch at Soul Stroll, the Bay Area's annual health walk and resource fair, sponsored by AWDF USA partner, the African American Community Health Advisory Committee (AACHAC) on Saturday, May 18, 2013.

AWDF USA's Saving Our Future campaign brings together community leaders to address the persistently high African/African-American infant and maternal mortality rate in the US. Importantly, the campaign also raises awareness and garners support to address the African continent’s high maternal mortality rate – currently the world’s highest at 56% despite recent improvemen

African-American and now second-generation African immigrant women of all backgrounds have the country's highest infant mortality rate – more than two times the infant mortality rate of white women. And African-American women die in childbirth at four times the national average.

Surprisingly, African and African-American birth outcomes in the US are worse than those of the African country of Botswana. What's more, African immigrant health outcomes can worsen after living in the US for several years.

“The research has consistently shown that women from the African-American and African immigrant communities have the highest infant and maternal mortality rates in the Bay Area, statewide and nationally,” said Dr. Jackie Copeland–Carson, Executive Director of AWDF USA. “We know that California has the nation's largest African population. This means a targeted outreach that is inclusive of the new diversity of California's black community is essential if we are to solve this health crisis.” See Dr. Copeland-Carson's article, Saving Our Future: Remember the Black Infant Mortality Crisis, in the Huffington Post.

In California, AWDF USA's growing list of Saving Our Future campaign partners include the AACHAC, KQED, Women and Girls Lead, Priority Africa Network, the Bay Area Black Nurses Association, the Black Infant Health Program, East Bay Community Foundation, 100 Black Men of Silicon Valley, the Somali Community of the Bay Area, the Eritrean Community Center of Santa Clara, Ethiopian Community Services and the Midpeninsula Community Media Center.

With support from The California Endowment and the Kendra E. Burroughs Memorial Fund, AWDF USA and partners aim to increase public awareness of this monumental health challenge and highlight how Pan-African women can work together with allies of all backgrounds to improve black infant and maternal health.

AACHAC's mission is to increase awareness of major health issues affecting African Americans and diverse communities and advocate for increased health education and access to resources. Soul Stroll for Health is AACHAC’s initiative to promote good nutrition and physical activity as keys to better health in the African/African-American, Hispanic and Pacific Islander communities. Bay Area residents are invited to walk on a 1-, 3-, or 5-mile course at their own pace along the beautiful Bayfront path in Coyote Point Park in San Mateo, California.

“Soul Stroll is the perfect venue for AWDF USA to launch its Saving Our Future campaign,” stated Gloria Brown, AACHAC chairperson and AWDF USA Board member. “We attract 3,000 Bay Area residents to our health walk and resource fair each year, and these families share our interest in promoting healthier lifestyles. AACHAC is delighted to have AWDF USA joining our network of participating nonprofits at Soul Stroll on May 18.”

Registration for Soul Stroll for Health 2013 is $15 per person, which helps fund the AACHAC's work including free health screenings and education. Registered participants receive a free commemorative T-shirt, refreshments, gifts and other prizes. Admission is free for children under 5.

Soul Stroll tickets are available at http://www.aachac.org/soulstroll/.  

Contact AWDF USA at info@usawdf.org or 408-634-4837 by Monday, April 22nd for Soul Stroll volunteer opportunities.  The first 15 Bay Area volunteers who sign up will receive free Soul Stroll tickets.

 

Nancy Deyo is the senior advisor for communications at the African Women’s Development Fund USA (AWDF USA). She can be contacted by email at cndeyo@yahoo.com