Undergraduate course on studies on the social problematic of technologies at the school of biochemical and pharmaceutical sciences of the national university of rosario: capability approach, health promotion and participatory research.

Veggi, Luis María (1,2); Pittet, Sandra Fabiana (2); Taborda, Miguel Ángel (1,3) (2018). 'Undergraduate course on Studies on the social problematic of technologies at the School of Biochemical and Pharmaceutical Sciences of the National University of Rosario: capability approach, health promotion and participatory research.' Paper presented at the annual conference of the HDCA, Buenos Aires, Argentina 2018.


Since 2014, the School of Biochemical and Pharmaceutical Sciences of the National University of Rosario has included the elective course “Social Problematic of Technologies” (PST)in five scientific-technological careers related to health sciences, as part of the academic proposal of the "Discipline Integration and Study of the Professional Problematic" area. This incorporation is groundbreaking in addressing curricular contents regarding technology and human rights in the training of professionals in the health science field. In PST, students work on how technology could contribute to the problem of human development related to health in deprived communities of the city of Rosario (Santa Fe, Argentina).

Within the framework of the PST curricular proposal, the students carry out community health practices in the neighborhood of Villa Banana (Rosario) which has around 10000 inhabitants, a rate of households with unsatisfied basic needs of 23.7 % and informal urbanization without public drinking water service (National Population and Housing Census of Argentina, 2010). These practices are related to the evaluation and promotion of the caregiver's freedom to provide the necessary care for the healthy growth of the childs of the Villa Banana community.

The main conceptual frameworks to work on human development in PST are the capability approach, health promotion and participatory research. The capability approach is used to assess social situations and to define human development. An important link between health and human development is Health Promotion that is the process of enabling people to increase control over and to improve their health. Finally the human development involves having valued opportunities and agency, therefore it is important to use a participatory research approache. In this context, students assess the problems of human development in health using the capability approach and strategies of health promotion in community health practices.

The students get in touch with neighbors of Villa Banana in activities of health promotion. Several of these activities and discussions are developed in collaboration with neighbors in specifics meetings at the University or in one Educative Institution of Villa Banana (Escuela Marcelino Champagnat). Furthermore communitarian agents (Centro de Convivencia Barrial Oeste) and health workers of a primary care institution (Centro de Salud David Staffieri), all of them from Villa Banana, take part of these meetings.

The first group activity of PST is to choose and discuss health promotions materials (fliers and posters), downloaded from web pages of local public agencies of health, related to care practices to infants (exclusive breastfeeding, immunization of infants and hygiene practices). Afterwords, they evaluate the freedom of the caregivers to achieve these care practices in the neighborhood of Villa Banana taking into account the availability of resources at the household, community, regional and national levels. Finally, the groups evaluate the limitations of the available health promotion material regarding the expansion of the child care freedom and propose complementary actions needed to get it.

During the period 2014-2017, PST was dictated for 59 students in four different semesters. The students can make social actions and debate about technology, human development and human rights violation in a collaborative space of integral formation (teaching, research and extension). We expect that this experience will help students of careers related to human health to valuate their role, as graduates of the public university, in promoting and safeguarding human rights. (more info in Spanish http://www.riepibito.gob.ar/)

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