by Anna Maria DiDio
The African Family Health Organization (AFAHO) is an ethnic, community-based effort providing health, education, and human services to African and Caribbean immigrants and refugees in the Philadelphia area. Their model uses peer support, shared language, and cultural elements to help individuals and families thrive.
Southwest Philadelphia, known as “Little Africa,” is home to over 10,000 African immigrants and the location of AFAHO. Language difficulties, as well as cultural and socioeconomic needs, have created the necessity for programs that bridge the gap in care and information.
Founded in 2005, and growing to a budget currently of $1.2 million, AFAHO has grown from modest beginnings to over fifteen hundred clients and is expected to double with the opening of the new health clinic.
The Covid pandemic has exacerbated the challenge of accessing healthcare in Philadelphia. Lead times for doctor appointments have stretched out many months. Through the Wellness Clinic and the nurse practitioner, AFAHO aims to provide better access to healthcare to alleviate fear associated with long waits for healthcare.
Significant accomplishments at AFAHO include:
- Covid vaccine clinics have dosed 2,000 people to date since June 2021 and will now include the children’s vaccine and booster shots.
- Timely screening gives clients the best chance to address significant health issues. AFAHO held its first post-pandemic screening day in September 2021 offering mammography, vision, blood pressure, blood glucose, hepatitis C & HIV screening, COVID-19 tests, and vaccines in collaboration with the Sidney Kimmel Cancer Center, Jefferson Medical School and Tang Pharmacy.
- A grant from the Scattergood Foundation provides bilingual therapists to provide “wellness calls” for group and individual sessions to address behavioral health issues on a community level.
- AFAHO experienced ZERO maternal and infant mortality among its clients in 2021 due to our supportive services for pregnant and parenting women which includes pre and post-natal workshops, breastfeeding support, access to prenatal care and medical accompaniment made possible via support from the Philadelphia Health Partnership.
- AFAHO has secured Federal grants to fund programs on female genital cutting and domestic violence.
- AFAHO will open a new 3-room shelter in 2022 for women experiencing domestic violence where they will also receive case management and other supportive services aimed at helping them become independent and self-sufficient.
- AFAHO received funding from the City of Philadelphia’s Anti-Violence program to support our access to vocational training, mentorship, and other life skills for boys in the target community to improve their life outcomes. AFAHO will partner with Philly Tech, a new vocational program started by a member of the African immigrant community to connect young men to learning and mentoring opportunities in a safe space. Grants from the William Penn and Isonoma Foundations also support our African Youth Empowerment Program (AYEP) which offers an after-school haven along with tutoring, mentoring, life skills trainings and access to resources and other supportive services including case management for students and families.
- Grants from the Sam Fels Fund and the Leo & Peggy Pierce Foundation will allow AFAHO to continue offering fresh fruits and vegetables along with non-perishable items received from Philabundance to our food insecure families.
To learn more about African Family Health Organization, reach out to Impact100 Grant Champion Leanne Wagner.
For information about volunteering, visit AFAHO’s website or contact them via email.
5400 Grays Ave
Philadelphia, PA 19143
Elizabeth Porter, Volunteer Contact
Oni Richards, Executive Director