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MORAES, Ana Maria Silveira Machado de; MAGNA, Luís Alberto  and  MARQUES-DE-FARIA, Antonia Paula. Prevention of mental retardation: knowledge and perception by health professionals. Cad. Saúde Pública [online]. 2006, vol.22, n.3, pp.685-690. ISSN 1678-4464.

This article aimed to evaluate the prevention of mental disability in primary healthcare services in Maringá, Paraná, Brazil. The sample consisted of 90 male and female physicians from different fields, namely gynecology and obstetrics, pediatrics, general practice, and family health, as well as 66 male and female nurses. A multiple-choice questionnaire was filled out by the subjects themselves from August to December 2003. Qualitative variables were compared using the qui-square test at 5% significance level. Partial data relating to both the perception and knowledge of health professionals concerning mental disability were as follows: 75% were unable to choose the correct alternative on prevalence; 25% did not know how the genome contributes to etiology; 37% were unaware of prevention for mental disability; 28% were not confident in providing orientation on the teratogenic effect of ethanol; 35% demonstrated insecurity in orienting patients on amniocentesis. The data showed that participants had an unsatisfactory perception of the relevance of mental disability within the overall population disease profile, and that they need more information on the respective genetic and environmental issues.

Keywords : Mental Health; Health Services; Perception.

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