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The entire black population otherwise known as the African Americans can be described as groups of people living in the U.S but trace their very roots back to the racial categories in Africa. It has been said that this group of people constitutes about 15% of the entire American population and that amounts to around 40 million blacks according to a census conducted in the year 2000. This number is expected to rise to over 50 million in some twenty years to come. The African American population is evenly dispersed in the entire country with a huge representation in places like Alabama, Louisiana, Georgia and Maryland. Owing to their remarkable contribution and presence in the U.S it is therefore appropriate to spot their places of origin and subsequently, the health issues that affect the race in relation to their core beliefs concerning health and the challenges arising. In general a huge percentage of African Americans originate from Africa as the main place but others do originate from the West Indies and the region around the Caribbean (Gordon, 2000).
The most dominant group in this affair comprises of people primarily from the western African countries. But out of this it is the Nigerians that are believed to hold the greatest number of immigrants in the U.S either from current immigration trends or as a result of the slave trade era. The country is positioned in West Africa and is believed to be the most populous country in Africa. Even though it can be considered as somehow successful in relation to other African states for its massive oil production, it is evident that there is still a long way to go for it to outlive the prospects of a typical third world country. Poverty and a poor economy still feature prominently and have in the recent past encouraged emigration into America, with those already established in America having every reason to consider themselves lucky. It is evident that most of the African Americans have a direct or indirect link to the country of Nigeria. The former have migrated directly into the US from Nigeria while the latter have some form of connection originating from inter marriages with other races in the US. Some of the traditional accounts discussed in here are common with the Ibo community which has massive membership in the US.
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African American populations continue to experience a great deal of challenges in regard to their health status. One of the issues involves the aspect of life expectancy which has seen the black population on the receiving end as compared to the whites in recent years. Although the effect is transforming across gender with African American females posing a greater expectancy than many white males, the overall situation still has the black population with lower expectancy in life. It is from here that the rate at which African Americans expect to live is aptly compared to that of third world countries with very high populations and limited resources (Collins, 2006). These developments can be traced back to the issue of poverty and unemployment that characterizes most African American settlements than it even does to other immigrants like the Asians. They have the biggest number of uninsured populations owing to poverty and segregation in terms of resource distribution. Therefore it is appropriate to note that several factors that accompany poverty do restrict the black population from accessing healthcare needs and those who are lucky to access some healthcare needs only bump into substandard care that is sometimes harmful.
The issue of gender in regard to exploiting the avenues of challenge posed to the African American population seems to emerge at the slightest chance. Statistics point towards a growing trend that is currently derailing the mental health of particularly male populations amongst African Americans. This group has been associated with the tendency of exhibiting extremely weird behaviors that are evident of a disturbed mental health (Waldo, 2010). They are least likely going to complete their education as compared to their female black counterparts as well as white boys. Mental statuses that include aspects like depression are therefore common amongst this group with little survival and coping tactics altogether. The effects are products of a discrimination process that is underway and the challenges that face the future of this group. Statistics show a worsening dimension with the fact that when this group of the black society can be thought to be gaining in terms physical and mental health, the settings are usually in rehabilitations and other correctional facilities. A short sighted or ill equipped African American male population is therefore bound to emerge since they are overlooked in health and other social matters. Health complications HIV and withdrawals are therefore likely to happen under the accompaniment of violent behavior, suicides and imprisonment (Waldo, 2010).
Research has in the recent past also pointed towards African Americans being more vulnerable to health conditions like strokes and heart diseases. They are twice as much at risk of acquiring such diseases as compared to people from other races. This cndition is believed to exist hand in hand with heart diseases and sickle cell anemia. Although it remains unclear as to why black people remain the most vulnerable we are left to dwell on the ever emerging statistics suggesting a high prevalence of these ailments among the African American population. The National stroke association is keen to point out that out of every 3 African Americans 1 is certainly a victim of high blood pressure which is the most outstanding contributory factor for acquiring a stroke. People with diabetes are also top candidates for strokes and other ailments if not the devastating effects of diabetes itself. It is also not clear how it manifests but statistics do regard the African American population as the most vulnerable with little evidence pointing towards their lifestyles. Sickle cell Anemia also has its share of spoils for African Americans with 2 out of every dozen of blacks having a manifest of the disease. This disease entails the portrayal of abnormal shapes of red blood cells; normally sickle shaped, and can deter the steady flow of blood. When the brain is involved in these confusions strokes easily occur. Apart from obesity there is a related feature known as overweight that is also dominating the health of most African Americans. The total weight of male and female blacks in America is higher than that of white Americans with the absurdity being explained by their total populations. White Americans are far much populous than African Americans. The same case appears for other diseases like the cardiovascular disease whereby African Americans feature prominently as compared to other racial groups in the population of the U.S (Gordon, 2000).
Statistics also point towards an interesting spectrum of development concerning the issue of HIV infection rates amongst the entire African American population. It is believed that women from this racial group are the most vulnerable posing a high of 64% of all the infections reported on a daily basis. With over 200,000 cases of HIV tests during the 2000-2006 periods being associated with the black population the issue here needs appropriate counteractive measures. This amounts to 51% of all recoded incidents and translates to an issue of concern given the total population of African Americans as compared to other races. The victims include mainly adolescents and adults with the rate of transmission in some states being likened to the prevalence rate in African countries. New York City and Philadelphia are said to host the highest number of infected African Americans amongst other cities. Rated at 4%, the speed at which the black population in New York acquires HIV and AIDS is remarkably devastating. Studies account for one in every six black men between the ages of 35 to 50 is definitely HIV positive.
With this in mind, women from the black community seem to be most affected by the HIV/AIDS scourge amounting to 64% percent of infections every year. On the other hand it is believed that a huge percentage of African American men suffer from glucose deficiency although the complication is not very common. It is also apparent that cancer prevalence rates are also high amongst African Americans with a higher death rate as compared to the other races. Lactose complications, breast and prostate cancer are also believed to be prevalent amongst black population and all these traces may lead to partially blaming the lifestyle issue as the main contributor. A huge percentage of the black population in America especially the old are vulnerable to problems of the eyesight. This is commonly caused by glaucoma and again the problem is more familiar with black people than the whites. Consequentially blindness is poised to result in most cases even though cataract Surgery Avenue towards healing the eyesight problems. Other complications like the Alzheimer's disease and dementia have also been categorically proven in research to mostly affect black populations and in this case black old people (Michael & Linda, 2000).
Unfavorable living conditions in the United States have over the years been the major obstacle for blacks to acquire good health services but despite all this it is believed that blacks particularly the old bring forth a resistivity in terms of death and live longer than most whites. It is from this older generation of black people that we can effectively trace the core beliefs that embody the African culture in modern times in relation to the issue of healthcare. These core beliefs have three major constituents that try to explain them deeper. The first major aspect in studying the beliefs includes a definition of the supposed health complication followed by concepts about the root of the disease and lastly the medium through which an ill person. Most of the aspects that influence the decisions of African American are beliefs that are of traditional nature trying to explain the origins and remedies of health issues regardless of any interference from scientific explanations owing to the fact that traditional medicine is believed to have come to being way before modern medicine emerged.
The older black population brings withh itself the beliefs of relying on traditional methods of healing practices. The black population therefore relies on this technique with the assurance getting healed from the various categories of healers. The ability to heal is either learnt from others, supposedly from God and lastly others were born with this healing gift. Native doctors in this category are credited with offering healing services but are least trusted with healing abilities that are looked down upon. On the other hand there is a group of doctors who are believed to perform extra medicinal services that include telling the future of their customers and also supernaturally inflicting evil deeds on desired victims. They are known as root doctors owing to the kind of respect accorded to roots in contemporary African settings (Gordon, 2000).
Spiritual healers then emerge on this scene bearing the greatest amount of respect and believed to yield the most substantial amount of power. Their style of operation includes laying hands on the intended patient or casualty while administering some form of incantations supposedly speaking to God. Many black people opt to follow such channels amongst other core beliefs that have been passed on from generation to generation. It is also from here that most diseases affecting black people can easily be blamed on matters of witchcraft and other occult practices. Having classified such diseases as originating from witchcraft also calls for a solution that is based on the same principles and beliefs and this might aggravate the situation even more as compared to instant and reliable modes of modern medicine. Modern medicine is actually precise and systematic in the forms of application unlike traditional methods where the patient's commitment and trust are required in great portions. The other aspect of traditional medicine is that these techniques of healing are only known to the practitioners and a small section of the society through a coded system well known to them.
As the United States government struggles to put up remedial measures for health challenges and especially for black people, barriers are emerging on a daily basis to pose greater challenges for the mission. For instance the pre natal care field is described as a candidate for receiving required attention from the government but the fact that most black women live under low income circumstances poses a barrier for the process. These restrictions are both manifested socially, environmentally and psychologically too (Collins 2006). Since most black women are impregnated outside wedlock at teen ages they are left with the challenge of sometimes keeping the pregnancy issue to themselves and in turn end up receiving minimal care from responsible authorities. The other challenge posed is the kind of medical personnel in the medical profession attending to black populations. These regions lack efficient and effective professionals and equipments.
Other problems constitute of aspects beyond the governments control and they include low life expectancy and infant mortality rates. Infants particularly from the African American populations are bound to die from being born with extremely low weights and sadly even those who survive have a higher probability of not living longer the high cost of treatment around them. For a long time now, African Americans have been victims of racial segregation in the healthcare sector and this further worsens their situation in achieving first hand healthcare. It has been noted that despite whites in America having the greatest number of kidney complications the smaller number that represent African Americans is usually subject to long waits for treatment as the majority cases are attended to at efficient speeds. This and other forms of inequalities across the racial profile also pose an enormous challenge to the government in its bid to curb such healthcare challenges facing the African Americans. From all the issues discussed in this paper it is appropriate to notice that black people in America require the greatest attention in health care. But with all these their access to health care is limited by factors such as lacking health insurance and insufficient health care facilities which the government has failed to put in place thanks to racist officials (Jet, 2003).
In conclusion, the challenges that exist on the part of African Americans concerning the issue of healthcare can be blamed on both the government and also the black people themselves. The government on its part has failed to address the issue and provide avenues for supporting the needy black population since it is very shameful to discover that in this day and age some Americans cannot fully access the best healthcare. African Americans on their part are guilty of applying remedial measures and beliefs that lack conceptual strength and flexibility. This is from the traditional beliefs and involvement of supernatural activities like sorcery and occult premature beliefs. On the other hand African Americans sometimes tend to dump their sick relatives in hospital with no adequate care and finances and thus complicate the issue of healthcare even more.
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