Effect of a participatory educational program on primary school teachers' knowledge of malaria

OBJECTIVE: To describe a participatory educational program for building up knowledge on malaria among primary school teachers in a highly endemic city. METHODS: An observational study was conducted. A 40-hour course with a multidisciplinary and problematizing approach was held in 2008, including 46 teachers mainly from rural areas of the city of Barcelos, Northern Brazil. The participatory educational process was comprised of workshops and practical classes. A previously validated questionnaire was applied before and after the course to assess teachers' knowledge and subsequently analyzed using qualitative and quantitative approaches and open-response thematic analysis. RESULTS: Prior to the course, teachers had little information about the transmission mechanisms, means of prevention, and the association between malaria and its vectors, and their health concepts were limited. After the course, teachers' knowledge of malaria increased and they reflected on their role in society. CONCLUSIONS: The effect of the educational program on the construction of contextualized knowledge of malaria and health indicates the potential of the strategy developed. Continuing education processes are required for the maintenance of new knowledge and practices directed towards health promotion.

Faculty; Teaching; Problem-Based Learning; Health Education; Malaria

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