The system of public health pursues global objectives, addressing issues of immense magnitude on a nationwide scale. However, the field remains multifaceted, and meaningful efforts at a lower level should not be disregarded. Aside from global concerns, local communities demonstrate a range of varying hazards, the nature, and severity of which depend on the particular location. Accordingly, public health professionals and authorities are to execute pointed assessments of each case and provide accurate interventions. This paper focuses on the town of Gonzalez, Louisiana, as an excellent example of a small community with its distinct features and hazards. An examination of local characteristics has the potential to enhance public health workers’ understanding of the challenges they faced in this particular area.
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Gonzales is a small town in the Eastern part of Louisiana with a set of distinct characteristics. According to the United States Census Bureau (2019), the population of the area is estimated to be 10,957 people; Figure 1 shows the detailed demographics of the town. There is little data available regarding mortality rates in Gonzales. Overall, the average life expectancy in the area is slightly below the average number for Louisiana, which is 75.6 (Arias et al., 2021). The windshield survey has shown that the town mostly has decent private residences with yards and a central air supply. The area has a selection of open green spaces, which are used for fitness activities and family recreation. The area does not have a developed public transit system, which is why most residents have to use automobiles. There is significant construction activity, including both residential and public areas, suggesting that the city is seeing economic development. However, Gonzales has one of the highest crime rates in the United States (“Crime rate in Gonzales,” n.d.). The city creates an impression of a small, close-knit community, which enables its strength through unity.
As for the public health hazards, aside from crime and natural disasters, there is a concerning amount of chemical production plants for such a small area. These industrial facilities increase the risks of chemical poisoning, air pollution, and toxic waste contamination. Accordingly, the intensity of chemical production forms the primary area of concern from the public health perspective. The proposed intervention is to comprise two major aspects, educational and practical ones. The first element suggests the necessity of sharing vital information with the community. People should learn more about the effects of chemical pollution, as well as the way to prevent it or mitigate its consequences on the scale of a single household. As the Covid-19 pandemic showed, public safety measures are significantly more effective if the population is aware of the fundamental concepts behind them. Ideally, the education initiative should reach the engagement level of at least 60% within one year to encompass most households in the area.
Such an educational initiative is a highly effective intervention instrument for Gonzales city. Chemical production is an important industry for the country’s economy. Consequently, people in such areas should know how to live healthy in such hazardous areas and act in case of a potential emergency. Extended public education on chemical safety will provide the population of Gonzales with an understanding of the toxic pollutants’ effect on their well-being while highlighting the most important prevention measures. This way, residents will be aware of the basic, everyday methods of minimizing the risks of chemical poisoning in the everyday environment. Furthermore, if an emergency occurs, the population will possess the required knowledge regarding the safest and most optimal plan of action. As a result, the people of Gonzales, Louisiana, will benefit from better health and well-being, despite the existence of dangerous production in the area.
Arias, E., Bastian, B., Xu, J., Tejada-Vera, B. (2021). U.S. State life tables, 2018. National Vital Statistics Reports, 70(1), 1-18. Web.
Crime rate in Gonzales, Louisiana (LA): murders, rapes, robberies, assaults, burglaries, thefts, auto thefts, arson, law enforcement employees, police officers, crime map. (n.d.). Web.
United States Census Bureau (2019). Gonzales City, Louisiana. Web.
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