Community Needs Assessment Project Instruction

Alaska is the largest state in the United States of America and has a total population of slightly above 730,000, 65% of the population are Native Americans better known as the Alaska Natives in Alaska and live in Bethel. Bethel city, one of the many cities in Alaska, occupies just above 48 square miles, out of which 5.5 square miles is water as it is bordered by two rivers, which head to the sea. It has the second largest home of wild animals and has very harsh weather, which is characterized by very hot summers and extremely long, cold weather, and very heavy snow.

Bethel residents value their heritage, which is evident in holding yearly cultural shows, practicing gaming and fishing as their leisure activities. However, they do not have access to clean tap/ running water, they lack sewage systems, which most villagers know how to make; therefore, most of their waste and garbage is deposited in the rivers and bushes. This, in turn, leads to high rates of air, soil, and water pollution. The only way to access Bethel city is by air or water, which makes it very difficult for most people to access health facilities, government services, and other key facilities and services (Rosier, 2003).

There are several hazards facing Bethel city which include: flooding; severe weather and diseases caused by poor sanitation and earthquakes. They face very high mortality rates due to the high rates of diseases and wildlife attacks. Lack of medical insurance, ineffective modes of transportation, and poor infrastructure are some of the challenges faced in accessing medical facilities. The city has more high school graduates than degree holders; hence, most of them do not qualify for professional employment, which explains why there are less than 570 firms in Bethel and a per capita income of slightly above $ 29,000 in 4 years. Even though there are over 2,300 housing units, owned by 52% of the population in Bethel, the housing units are in deplorable conditions as most lack important utilities (U.S. Census Bureau, 2010).

Mortality rates are high because of the lack of and/or inaccessible medical facilities; staunch traditional beliefs and a low number of medical attendants and facilities within the area. This means that an individual can die while waiting to be attended to. Infant and maternal mortality are high. Most infants die due to sudden infant death syndrome, whereas pregnant mothers are not educated on clinic issues while pregnant; thus, pose risks not only to the unborn babies but also to themselves. This problem is detected very late or is not detected until they die. Diseases such as HIV/ AIDs, Haemophilus Influenza type A and water-borne diseases are also on the rise in Bethel. Some of the funding channels are; private insurance and the through the U. S. Indian Health services. The city authority needs to act fast to improve the health sector and general living in Bethel.

References

Rosier, P. C. (2003). Native American issues. Westport, CT: Greenwood Press.

U.S. Census Bureau. (2010). United States 2010 Census: State Population profile Maps. Web.

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