Cervical cancer awareness and uptake of pap-smear services among women above 18 years of age
Cervical cancer is a significant public health problem among women in Zambia. The purpose of the study was to determine the awareness of cancer of the cervix and Pap smear uptake among the women aged 18 years and above. This was a mixed method study that used both quantitative and qualitative methods that was conducted in Maramba coumpound in Livingstone. Multistage and convenient sampling methods were used to select 389 respondents who participated in the study. Quantitiative Data was collected using face to face interviews. Purposive sampling of 2 Focus Group Discussion (FGD) participants that had 6 participants per FGD was carried out. The first group comprised participants who were 18 - 35 years old and the second group was participants above 35 years old. The findings revealed that 52.2% (203) of the respondents had never heard of cancer of the cervix whilst slightly less than half 47.8% (186) of the respondents had heard of cancer of the cervix, while 55.8% (217) had heard of Pap smear. None had ever done a Pap-smear, when asked why none of them did not do a Pap smear, 56.3% (219) of the respondents said that they were not aware of Pap smear services offered at Livingstone general hospital, while 40.4% (157) did not do Pap smear because of fear of positive results. The respondents were asked to identify women who were at risk of cervical cancer, 39.1% (152) said all women, 32.1% (125) said women who are sexually active and 26.5% said married women. There was an association between Socio-Demographic characteristics Educational Level (P-value 0.368), Age (P-value, 0.136) and respondents' response of those who are at risk of developing cancer of the cervix. Economic status was significantly associated with awareness of cancer of the cervix (P-value 0.004). There is need to for the Health care professionals to intensify Information, Education and Communication (IEC) on cancer of the cervix and its prevention.