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Ciência & Saúde Coletiva

Print version ISSN 1413-8123

Abstract

AVILA, Maria Marlene Marques. A case study of the Community Health Agents Program in Uruburetama, Ceará (Brazil). Ciênc. saúde coletiva [online]. 2011, vol.16, n.1, pp. 349-360. ISSN 1413-8123.  http://dx.doi.org/10.1590/S1413-81232011000100037.

The program of community health agents institutionalized by the Department of Health in 1991 was the first strategy of its kind on national scale to bring attention to improving health in Brazil. In Ceará, this program exists since 1986. The aim of this study is to identify and discuss the practices of health agents within the community. Interactions between a specific group of 19 infants in their first year of life from August 2004 to August 2005 and community health agents were followed and examined through individual interviews, focus groups, and field observations to gain a greater understanding of the common practices and the obstacles faced by these health agents. The study took place in Uruburetama, Ceará. Fifteen agents were the main source of information of this study. By looking at the analytical category of the health agent as an educator, it was empirically identified that they have an insufficient knowledge of the root causes and consequences of the social-economic determinants; and that the health practices themes and information are taken out of context of reality. This study points out the need to reinforce the training of health agents and, more importantly, strengthen their action as health educators in the community.

Keywords : Health agents; Primary health care practices; Popular health education.

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