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Howard University Hospital (HUH) recently announced the opening of a new women, infants and children (WIC) family center in D.C. that will provide low-income military families with infants and children access to health care resources, counseling and social services.

To qualify for care at the new center, participants must meet income guidelines, show proof of state residency, and have a “nutritional risk,” officials said.

“Poverty and lack of health care access among military families are quite often overlooked with many families living well below the poverty line,” said Davene White, director of the HUH CARES public health program. “Howard University Hospital is proud to open a new WIC center, which will help eliminate barriers and provide local military families with valuable nutrition education and resources to address their dietary and health needs.”

White said that studies show that babies born prematurely or with low birth weight are at a higher risk of an early death.

“The HUH CARES WIC program is very effective at reducing these incidents by offering resources focused on helping women improve the quality of their diet; as well as staying abreast of childhood immunization standards, growth and development and increasing access to prenatal care much early in their pregnancy,” she said.

WIC applicants are screened by health care professionals for dietary and medical-based risks such as anemia, low weight, smoking, maternal age, pregnancy complications and poor pregnancy outcomes.

A typical WIC household of three typically earns an income of less than $37,000 annually, which is below the U.S. Poverty Income Guidelines.

However, while the program is available to low to moderate income pregnant women, recently delivered women, breastfeeding women, infants, and children up to age 5 who are at nutrition risk, fathers can also bring their children to apply. Overall, prospective clients may apply regardless whether they’re working or unemployed.

Funding for WIC vouchers are provided by each state and administered at the local level by county and city health centers, or private organizations.

The vouchers can be used at most grocery stores and military base commissaries.

This correspondent is a guest contributor to The Washington Informer.

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