Ciência & Saúde Coletiva
Print version ISSN 1413-8123
MIALHE, Fábio Luiz; LEFEVRE, Fernando and LEFEVRE, Ana Maria Cavalcanti. Community health agents and their educational practices in oral health: a qualitative/quantitative evaluation. Ciênc. saúde coletiva [online]. 2011, vol.16, n.11, pp. 4425-4432. ISSN 1413-8123. http://dx.doi.org/10.1590/S1413-81232011001200015.
Among the activities performed by the community health agent (CHA), the educational actions are of fundamental importance for the provision of healthcare. Therefore, the scope of this study was to evaluate these aspects in a random sample of 80 CHAs, drawn from 16 Family Health Program Units in Piracicaba, São Paulo State, representing 51.3% of the population studied. The data was collected through semi-structured interviews, which were recorded and transcribed, using a script with questions about dental health education practices conducted by the agents. For the data analysis, the answer processing technique of the Collective Subject Discourse (CSD) was used. It was established that dental health education activities are performed sporadically by CHAs and addressed mainly to pregnant women, mothers and children, in a vertical model of information transmission, seeking changes in individual behavior and the incorporation of healthy habits. The results suggest the need of CHAs to rethink the way they are developing their educational practices in dental health. However, for this to become a reality, it is indispensable to count on the support of the health manager in processes of permanent education directed to these professionals and to the whole team.
Keywords : Health education; Community Health Agent; Family Health Program.