A Pedagogical Approach of Schistosomiasis An Experience in Health Education in Minas Gerais, Brazil|
Cristiano Lara Massara & Virgínia Torres Schall
The experience described here is part of an extensive program that aims to stimulate schools to develop health integrated projects from theme generators, i.e., themes that have a meaning for the community. It was developed in Jaboticatubas, a town in the metropolitan region of Belo Horizonte, capital of the state of Minas Gerais, Brazil, and the focus was schistosomiasis. The selection was based on the expressive and historical prevalence of this disease in the county, which has been known as the "capital of schistosomiasis", in a national press release since the 1960's. Schistosomiasis is also a theme pointed out by teachers as requiring more information and methodologies to work with their students, most of them living in areas of high risk of transmission. In addition, during the last years, this disease has been transmitted silently through an increasing rural tourism in that region, requiring integrated and effective control actions. The developed strategy included four schools, whose teachers, students, and families took part in the process. It emphasizes in a critical pedagogy approach, which focuses on health issues as themes that may mobilize the school community and awake the population to a work which integrates environment, health, and citizenship. The results demonstrate that teachers and students not only acquired new knowledge and methodological skills, but also gained confidence in their ability to improve their health conditions. Thus, the project promotes a critical education that can result a more permanent effect on the control of schistosomiasis as well as other benefits for the schools and for the population.
schistosomiasis - health education - schoolchildren - Minas Gerais - Brazil