We chose FHSC professionals for this investigation because we understand that FHU should be the preferred gateway for all people when they seek medical assistance in the health care system, regardless of their living condition.
Questionnaires were administered to 88 professionals of FHU (31 physicians, 30 nurses, and 27 dentists) and four FHSC pharmacists.
Regarding the rural area data, questionnaires were directly sent to professionals at the Municipal Health Department (before they were sent to their respective FHU), and for the urban area data, the research team went directly to the FHUs.
Over half of the respondents (55.4%) had more than five years of experience in PHC services, in FHU or FHSC, whereas only about 18% of them had less than two years of experience.
Nevertheless, data revealed that 68.5% of the professionals working in the FHU or FHSC had attended a deaf person at some point.
This was discovered after the interviewed professionals revealed that they attend deaf people in the FHU without training and, consequently, facing difficulties regarding clinical behavior and felt unprepared for an appropriate approach to these obstacles.
The questionnaire was applied at the FHU during weekly team meetings held as part of management routine.
In Table 1 the results of the frequency of CHAs per group and their distribution according to gender, age, educational level, time of residence in the suburb, family income and time of work in FHU, are presented.
The results bout the knowledge of the oral health-disease process demonstrated that the CHAs connected with a FHU with an Oral Health Team in Piracicaba, in general presented a higher level of knowledge, when compared with the group of CHAs connected with a FHU without an Oral Health Team in Piracicaba.
In the comparison made between CHAs connected with a FHU without and with OHT, about the question that asked the number of times a person changes dentition, the professionals attained scores of 181 and 199, respectively, but could have obtained up to 243.
In Group 1, composed of CHAs connected with a FHU without OHT, a score of 210 was verified; that is, 64.81% out of a possible total of 324.