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Revista de Saúde Pública

On-line version ISSN 1518-8787Print version ISSN 0034-8910


BOUSQUAT, Aylene; ALVES, Maria Cecilia Goi Porto  and  ELIAS, Paulo Eduardo. Utilization of the Family Health Program in metropolitan regions: a methodological approach. Rev. Saúde Pública [online]. 2008, vol.42, n.5, pp.903-906.  Epub Aug 14, 2008. ISSN 1518-8787.

OBJECTIVE: To present the methodological approach used to define the profile of health services utilization by the population enrolled in the Family Health Program. METHODS: Three patterns of services utilization accessed by the population were considered: residual, partial and full. These patterns were identified based on the range of actions of the Family Health Program that are accessed by the population. An enquiry was conducted in 2006 with two-stage sampling in an area characterized by high levels of social exclusion in the city of São Paulo, Brazil. In the first stage, 960 people participating in family health teams were drawn and classified by the community-based health agents as "full use" or not of the health services. In the second stage, 173 drawn subjects were then classified according to the patterns of services utilization. RESULTS: Subjects were classified as full users (16%), partial users (57%) and residual users (26%), and had different social and demographic characteristics. There was a selective and focused utilization of the services offered by the Family Health Program. Being male, having a level of schooling above the fifth grade of elementary school, having a paid job and accessing medical care systems implied lower adhesion to the services, even though the study focused on regions with few options of healthcare services. Even in areas of high social exclusion and low offer of health services, 25% of the enrolled population did not use the services offered at the Family Health Units, receiving only home visits. CONCLUSIONS: Methodologies that are capable of capturing distinct patterns of health services utilization by the population may contribute to improve services evaluation.

Keywords : Family Health Program; Health Services [utilization]; Health Services Accessibility; Health Care (Public Health); Health Surveys; Primary Health Care.

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