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Open Access Research article

Perceptions of primary healthcare professionals towards their role in type 2 diabetes mellitus patient education in Brazil

Heloisa C Torres1*, Brani Rozemberg2, Marta A Amaral1 and Regina CA Bodstein3

Author Affiliations

1 Professor, Researcher, PhD- Escola de Enfermagem da Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais-EE/UFMG, Belo Horizonte, Brazil

2 Professor, Researcher, PhD - Fundação Oswaldo Cruz, Escola Nacional de Saúde Pública, Centro de Pesquisas em Saúde do Trabalhador e Ecologia Humana. Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

3 Professor, Researcher, PhD - Escola Nacional de Saúde Pública da Fundação Oswaldo Cruz- ENSP/FIOCRUZ. Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

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BMC Public Health 2010, 10:583  doi:10.1186/1471-2458-10-583

Published: 29 September 2010



The aim of the current study was to analyze the perceptions, knowledge, and practices of primary healthcare professionals in providing patient education to people with type 2 diabetes mellitus.


A total of 23 health professionals working in primary healthcare units in Belo Horizonte, Minas Gerais State, Brazil, participated in a focus group in order to discuss their patient education practices and the challenges for effective patient education in diabetes self-management.


The results were categorized as follows: 1) lack of preparation and technical knowledge among the health professionals on some aspects of diabetes mellitus and the health professionals' patient education practices; 2) work conditions and organization; 3) issues related or attributed to the clientele themselves; and 4) diabetes care model.


This study highlights the importance of reorienting the patient education practices, health professionals' skills and work goals, and evaluation of the educational interventions, in order to establish strategies for health promotion and prevention and control of the disease.


Health Education; Prevention of Diabetes Mellitus; Primary Healthcare