Performance of the PSF in the Brazilian South and Northeast: institutional and epidemiological Assessment of Primary Health Care

The research developed in the context of the baseline studies of the PROESF analyzed the performance of the PSF in 41 municipalities of the States Alagoas, Paraíba, Pernambuco, Piauí, Rio Grande do Norte, Rio Grande do Sul and Santa Catarina. This article describes a transversal study using an external group for comparison (traditional primary care). Forty-one Presidents of Municipal Health Councils, 20 Municipal Health Secretaries and 32 Primary Care Coordinators were interviewed. The study characterized the structure and work process of 234 Basic Care Units, involving 4.794 workers, 4.079 children, 3.945 women, 4.060 adults and 4.006 aged people. Quality control reached 6% of the sampled domiciles. The coverage provided by PSF between 1999 and 2004 increased more in the Northeast than in the South. Less than half of the workers were admitted through open public selection and the work under contract was more frequent in the PSF than in the traditional UBS. These findings suggest a performance of primary health care still very distant from the prescriptions of the Unified Health System. Less than half of the potential users frequented the UBS in their area. The offer of health actions, their use and the contact through programmed actions were more adequate in the PSF.

Primary care; PSF; Assessment of Health policies; Evaluation of the performance of basic health care services

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