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Objectives: To determine nurses’ awareness of cervical cancer and their own screening practices at a hospital in Tanzania.
Methods: A descriptive cross sectional study using questionnaires on 137 nurses. Data analysis was made by descriptive statistics and chi square tests.
Results: Less than half of the nurses had adequate knowledge regarding cervical cancer. There was a significant association between knowledge levels of causes of cervical cancer and transmission of HPV and age. Knowledge was more adequate among the young nurses (p = 0.027) and knowledge differed significantly between cadres. Registered nurses had more adequate knowledge than enrolled nurses (p = 0.006).
The majority did not know screening intervals and a few were aware of HPV vaccine. Most nurses (84.6%) had never had a Pap smear examination.
Conclusion: These results reflect a need for continuing medical education, creation of cervical cancer prevention policies and strategies at all levels of the health sector.