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Revista Brasileira de Epidemiologia

Print version ISSN 1415-790X


RATIS, Cristiane de Albuquerque Silva  and  BATISTA FILHO, Malaquias. Process and structural aspects of monitoring growth in children under the age of five years at public health services in the State of Pernambuco, Brazil. Rev. bras. epidemiol. [online]. 2004, vol.7, n.1, pp.44-53. ISSN 1415-790X.

OBJECTIVE: To evaluate the process and structural aspects of growth monitoring in 120 public health units in the state of Pernambuco in Northeast Brazil. METHOD: We carried out a cross-sectional study based on a research survey entitled "Child and Maternal Health Care in the State of Pernambuco". The study included 1,669 children under the age of five years representing both Metropolitan Recife (state capital) and the Interior Regions of the State. Data processing and analysis were performed using Epi-info 6.02 software. The Pearson chi-squared test with the Yates correction was used for the binary tables. RESULTS: Health services in 97.1% of Metropolitan Recife (MR) have record cards for growth data available. This proportion drops considerably (80.4%) in the Interior Regions (p<0.01). Pediatric scales for weighing children under the age of 2 years was reported in nearly 90.0% of MR units, and just 76.5% in those in the Interior Regions. Regarding standards and charts for monitoring growth, positive responses dropped significantly in the different regions of the state - 23.3% and 18.0%, respectively. In 54.1% of the cases, children were weighed and in 16.2% growth measures were taken (height length). Parents or guardians received information on the growth of their children in 18.2% of the sample. As to health services, professionals from MR request growth cards more than those in the State Interior. 38.0% of the children that presented the card had either no records or just one record of weight. CONCLUSION: The findings indicate that, despite structural resources, public health services in the State of Pernambuco present a grossly deficient performance in regard to carrying out an effective and efficient growth monitoring process for children under the age of five years.

Keywords : Services evaluation; Growth; Nutritional surveillance.

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