Family needs on child development in the light of health promotion

Verônica de Azevedo Mazza, Anna Maria Chiesa


This is an analytical exploratory research; its object is family health needs on child development apprehended by the dialectics between objective and subjective dimensions. Object interpretation was grounded on the theoretical background of Health Promotion, underpinned by the concept of empowerment. Objectives: 1. To characterize the potential for social development in health districts of Curitiba City/ Brazil. 2. To characterize social inclusion of families with children under 5 years of age in the coverage area of the Health Primary Unit. 3. To apprehend the perceived health needs by families and representatives of social agencies on child development. 4. To analyze data based on the theoretical background of Health Promotion. Methodology: This study was carried out in the city of Curitiba, at Bairro Novo Health District. Qualitative-quantitative techniques were used. Research subjects were members of families with children until 5 years of age, residents in the coverage area of the Health Unit and representatives of socialization agencies working with families in that area. In the objective dimension, secondary data were obtained at Instituto Brasileiro de Geografia e Estatística (IBGE) – Brazilian Institute of Geography and Statistics – from the census of 2000, in order to characterize social inequalities among Health Districts, using the construct of Social Inclusion Indicator and Home Quality Indicator. Data were clustered according to the census sectors that entail each Health District. Families’ characterization was undertaken by means of a semi-structured interview with 49 families, entailing information on social inclusion. In the subjective dimension, data were obtained by means of a focal group undertaken with 21 families and by means of semi-structured interviews with 12 representatives of socialization agencies: Family protection council, Primary Health Care Unit, “Pastoral da Criança (community-based organization run by the Catholic Church to provide help to mothers and children), day-care center and pre-school. Data were analyzed by means of the dialectic-hermeneutic method. Results: The municipality presented a Social Inclusion Indicator of 3.66; SII in Bairro Novo was 3.23, below municipality average. Families’ characterization unveiled the social inequalities existent in the area. Data analysis disclosed families’ health needs, showing differences in their apprehension as well as in their fulfillment. Contradictions were found in the practices of socialization agencies, subjects’ control and autonomy, based on families’ normative view. Families’ idealized view hinders the realization of their “actual” needs, hampering the elaboration of social projects which really meet their needs. Families perceive themselves as refuge spots, able to protect their children from societal violence. The realization of families’ health needs foster the possibility of designing intervention projects in Nursing Collective Health in order to strengthen family autonomy, bringing about family-centered care, committed to an emancipating, horizontal, dialogic action. However, it deems necessary to stress the power of public policies in order to strengthen families, broadening families’ chances to promote child development so that they do not become – through their omission – a factor of vulnerability to children’s health.


Health needs; health promotion; family health; child health; child development.

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