Community Heroes: an in-depth series on the lives and impact of people giving back to our global communities.
Nana Eyeson Akiwowo
Place of Residence: New York, N.Y.
Why she is a Community Hero: Akiwowo helps to provide adequate health care in her parents’ homeland of Ghana via her African Health Now NGO.
Although Nana Eyeson Akiwowo enjoys the freedoms and access to proper healthcare in the United States, many people in her parents’ homeland, Ghana, are not as fortunate.
After her father suffered a heart attack in the African nation, Akiwowo was moved by the community’s willingness to rally around one another and bring her father back to health.
It was then Akiwowo was inspired to create African Health Now as a way to end the healthcare disparity in Ghana and bring light to a growing situation across the continent.
In a phone interview with NewsOne, Akiwowo was gracious in lending her time and further explaining the African Health Now initiative going forward, delving into how African tradition is a prominent part of her aims, and much more. In our brief chat, Akiwowo’s humility was refreshing and her infectious desire to do more should inspire many.
“I don’t think I’m a community hero. I just think I am a product of an environment and a culture that as Africans, we’ve always been accustomed to helping someone in need,” shared Akiwowo. Learning this benevolence from her father, who arrived in the states years ago and brought friends and family along, the current New York native simply finds herself following that grand example.
“Truthfully, that sense of looking out for one another is a strong thing in not just African culture, but immigrant African and Caribbean-American culture as well,” she added. “It made sense for us to take care of one another, and to provide an organic base of support.”
African Health Now credits 2006 as its inaugural year, and the early stages of the organization was molded around a health event titled the ““Gift of Life @ Christmas” fair. With 21 friends, Akiwowo helped to provide basic health procedures such as blood pressure checks, glucose tests, dental evaluation, healthy lifestyle classes and much more.
Over 300 Ghanaians, received care that day, with many stating it was their first time being seen by a health professional. Donations from friends, family and organizations helped to supply the event, and while there wasn’t a fair in 2012, African Health Now was still instrumental in providing information and support as needed.
“We didn’t do a fair in 2012 due to a lack of funds, but my dad wants me back to do another fair because the lack of accessibility the average Ghanaian has,” explained Akiwowo. That accessibility, and the fact that 1 healthcare provider is expected to work in a clinic and service upwards to 200 people over an unspecified amount of time drives home the seriousness of African Health Now’s work.
Akiwowo also spoke on the difficulty of getting men and women to speak on necessary health issues together, such as breast cancer, STDs, childcare, prostate health and more. She observed that culturally, African-Americans do not face the same conservative barriers as those in Ghana and that many in the states take that for granted.
African Health Now is a 501(c)(3) organization based in New York. Akiwowo is joined in the effort by five board members, an intern, a volunteer coordinator, and a four-person advisory team.
This coming December 1, which is also World AIDS Day, African Health Now will host another healthcare fair and condom giveaway in Ghana and has made a public call for donations. To learn more about African Health Now’s upcoming fair and to support, click here.
Also On Black America Web:
This Week’s Celebrity Instagrams (10/15-10/21)
31 photos Launch gallery
1. Just a NY girl with BIG dreams....
1 of 31
2. HAPPY CHILDREN=QUALITY PARENTING. We don't always see eye to eye on everything and that's normal. We're human beings. But we come together and do it right for what's important, the kids. We are not enemies, we are parents. And we are parents 1st. S/O to @monyettashaw for making Mason's bday memorable. S/O to @itscrystalsmith at home taking care of our other lil' Prince. ❤️❤️❤️ THIS IS WHAT CO-PARENTING LOOKS LIKE. #Blessed #Happy #AboveTheDrama #BiggerThanUs
2 of 31
3. So happy to finally be able to share with you all that I’m the new Global Brand Ambassador for @Revlon! Follow my day on RevlonSnaps. Yay! Choose Love, Everybody! #RevlonXCiara #chooselove #ad
3 of 31
4. Glam on point!!!@makeupbymotoko & @shaylinjoneshair #easybreezy @lifetimetv #beachesmovie #january2017 😘
4 of 31
5. ✨True love ✨📸: @jessiemarrerophotography
5 of 31
6 of 31
7. Today was not easy..but by the grace of God we all got through it. Words cannot express our gratitude for all of your Prayers, Positive thoughts and Support for us throughout the years. Tommy will be missed but most certainly never forgotten...And PLEASE don't ask "Where's Martin?.." he was there too...just not in this picture. Lol! God bless you all.. #LoveConquersAll #MartinShow
7 of 31
8 of 31
9. West coast get ready for #RockyHorror. I will be live tweeting again. #letsdothetimewarpagain
9 of 31
10. #THEKEYS pre order yours now ... Available everywhere #NOV22 #WeTheBest 🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑
10 of 31
11. We about to ROCK at #KCABlackBall!! All for our life-changing effort to end 🌎 AIDS.
11 of 31
12. Today's #SNAPJACK is brought to you by @yazzthegreatest 😂😂😂💋💋💋
12 of 31
13. Damn girl you kinda old to be headed to the Go Go. You coming in at the age they leaving. LMAO
13 of 31
14. Daddy daycare B-Boxin with @acewellstucker @shopraisingace
14 of 31
15. #FBF Naviyd & URV "LIL MONSTERS"
15 of 31
16. HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO ONE OF THE BIGGEST LEGENDS IN OUR HIPHOP HISTORY! @snoopdogg CONTINUED BLESSING AND LOVE FAMILY!!!!! REAL OG!
16 of 31
17. Thank you for a beautiful night VSU! Let's do it again! #HOMECOMING
17 of 31
18. Had a great time this morning with my familia Erica, Griff & Truth!!
18 of 31
19. Check out my interview on @essence facebook live. #inmyownwords #nycpromo #day2
19 of 31
20. #She💋 #tbt #TheCoveAtTheAtlantis #DawgPawsAndAll
20 of 31
21. Bae #retailtherapy
21 of 31
22. Why me and @coryhardrict got the same pose... and notee... new mouth #naked
22 of 31
23. When my husband is my personal 'hype-man'! it kills me every time! 💜😂 #WHATNOW #lostfiles📷
23 of 31
24. Diggy Simmons
24 of 31
25. Hand full of @jacquieaiche 💙💎💍 @esnail_la 💅🏾
25 of 31
26. SuperSoulers! You can watch my interview with Carl Lentz live from my Facebook page, tomorrow at 11a ET| 8a PT. #SuperSoulSunday
26 of 31
27. 💋 .. When the friendship is easy like Sunday morning. ☀️
27 of 31
28. Sunday mornings are the best........... hugs and cuddles with my angel
28 of 31
29. #huggar16 #hellohuggars
29 of 31
30. My gym is everywhere!.. #RnBMoney #TheGeneral 📸: @twelvepastseven
30 of 31
31. Nothing I would rather be doing... Rocko setting up our movie, Romelō working on a puzzle & Laiyah singing and sharing all she's learning at school... I'm so grateful for the joy they've brought into my life ... Praying for peace , joy & love in the home of EVERY family ♥️ #HeadScarfPJSunday LOL 😂
31 of 31