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Arquivos em Odontologia

versão impressa ISSN 1516-0939


VASCONCELOS, Mara; CARDOSO, Andreza Viana Lopes  e  ABREU, Mauro Henrique Nogueira Guimarães de. Challenges for Community Health Agents concerning oral health in small towns. Arq. Odontol. [online]. 2010, vol.46, n.2, pp. 98-104. ISSN 1516-0939.

The aim of the present research was to understand the actions of Community Health Agents (CHAs) from Virgem da Lapa, MG Brazil as regards oral health, analyzing their level of interested in this practice and investigating the knowledge acquisition process for CHAs. The participants of this research included 25 CHA workers. Each participant was asked to fill out a questionnaire in an attempt to compile a series profiles. The results of these profiles show that there is a majority of female CHAs, with an average of 28 years of age, normally married, with an average of 1.2 children per CHA. These agents, on average, earn an official minimum wage and generally have a basic level of education. They have lived in the same community in which they work for approximately 16 years and have been working as an CHAs for 4 years, on average. Each agent makes an average of 8 doctor's visits per day, and each is responsible for 115 families. During the interview, they admitted that they have no formal training in oral health and therefore do not develop any community-related actions for the region, mainly due to a lack of knowledge on the subject. During their house calls, these agents only treat the subject of oral health when they see a notorious situation regarding oral hygiene or when they are asked about it specifically. They commonly have no available resources to work with oral health within the families, and there tends to be a lack of knowledge concerning oral health in general. In conclusion, only a small number of these CHAs actually claim that Oral Health is as an integral part of human health as a whole, as they generally only refer to oral hygiene and oral pathologies. After the results of this research, a recommendation was sent to the CHAs, which included a training course on the issue of basic services for oral health and odontological themes.

Palavras-chave : Oral health; Qualitative research; Dental health education; Training.

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