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Targeting women with free cervical cancer screening: challenges and lessons learnt from Osun state, southwest Nigeria

Ebenezer Gbenga Adepoju
Temitope Ilori
Samuel Anu Olowookere
Ajibola Idowu


Introduction: the study was conducted to determine the challenges and suggest solutions to conducting free cervical cancer screening among Nigerian women. Methods: awareness was created among women groups and mass media in Osun State for women to undergo free cervical cancer screening programme. Consenting women had their sociodemographic characteristics, awareness and uptake of HPV vaccine documented and papanicolaou smear procedure done with adequate referral for treatment given where necessary. Results: a total of 287 women had cervical cancer screening. Mean (SD) age was 51.6 (14.3) years. Most participants were urban based (87.1%), married (63.1%), had secondary education (39%) and were traders (79.1%). None of the women were aware of the preventive HPV vaccine or had been vaccinated against HPV. About 6% were pre-invasive while 0.7% had invasive cervical cancer. The highest proportions of respondents affected were young, married and had lower education. Challenges identified included poor attendance, low risk perception and logistic issues. Conclusion: most participants were urban based. There is need to decentralize cancer of cervix screening through mobile clinics and establishment of screening centres in the rural areas. Neighbour to neighbour sensitization is essential. Also, HPV vaccine should be available and affordable to all girls before sexual maturity.

The Pan African Medical Journal 2016;24

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eISSN: 1937-8688