Knowledge and practice of cervical cancer screening among female professional health workers in a sub-urban district of Nigeria
AbstractCervical cancer is the commonest genital tract malignancies in the females and its burden is enormous, to the patient and her community. It is largely preventable or curable when detected at the very early stage through effective screening programme. Very poor clients' attendance has been noticed at the services provided by the state and other health institutions and female health workers are not exemptions. To determine the level of knowledge of female health workers about cervical cancer prevention using Pap smear and cytology, the degree of utilization and factors that may prevent utilization of services. It is a questionnaire based cross-sectional survey of 187 female health workers in Remo district of Ogun State, assessing their knowledge and utilization of cervical cancer screening services. There were 187 respondents, 78.3% were found to have knowledge of Papanicolaou smear (Pap smear) and only 16 (8.7%) had utilized the services. Lack of physicians' referrals and ignorance about location of service centers were the two most frequent reasons for failure of utilization. Socio-demographic factors do not influence utilization. There is a need for a more expanded and community oriented screening programme that will target the male population with regards to their consent and support. Health care providers should improve on opportunistic screening of patients and adopt alternative screening techniques, such as visual inspection with acetic acid (VIA), so as to widen patients coverage. Continuous education of female health workers about cancer of the cervix and its prevention will improve knowledge and increase service utilization.
Nigerian Medical Practitioner Vol. 50(1) 2006: 19-22