Tropical Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology

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Knowledge, Attitude and Practice of Cervical Smear as a Screening Procedure for Cervical Cancer in Ilorin, Nigeria

Peter A Aboyeji, Munir-Deen A Ijaiya, Abdul-Gafar A Jimoh


Context: Carcinoma of the cervix is a preventable disease but it remains the most common genital cancer in African women.

Objective: To determine the knowledge, attitude and practice of cervical smear as screening procedure for cervical cancer by female health workers in Ilorin, Nigeria.

Study Design, Setting and Subjects: A questionnaire was designed for cross sectional survey of 483 female health rd th workers in Government hospitals in Ilorin metropolis. This was carried out between 3 September and 30 November 2001.

Main Outcome Measures: Knowledge, utilization and compliance rates among various groups of female professional health workers.

Results: Three hundred and thirty seven (69.8%) knew about pap smear as a screening procedure for cervical cancer while 146 (30.2%) had no such knowledge. Of those with knowledge of pap smear, only 10 (0.3%) had pap smear test at least once previously. There is significant difference in the utilization of pap smear as a screening test between Doctors, Medical Laboratory Scientists and Nurses (P<0.0001). The common sources of information about pap smear were school lectures (35.3%), textbook (25.2%) and medical journal (10.7%). The common reasons for not wanting to be screened included the fact that respondents cannot have cervical cancer (52.5%), fear of detection of cancer (19.2%) and screening against religious beliefs (14.6%).

Conclusion: Although the knowledge of Pap smear as a screening procedure for cervical cancer is high, utilization is very poor. To improve utilization, public health education on the need for health workers to take up screening procedure to set “good example” for the populace is crucial. Setting up a National screening programme is very important. Meanwhile an increase in opportunistic screening might also be of help in reducing the burden of cervical cancer.
Key Words: Knowledge, Attitude, Practice, Pap smear, Cervical Cancer

[Trop J Obstet Gynaecol, 2004;21:114-117]
AJOL African Journals Online