Cervical cancer screening adherence and the SMS: Screening adherence and availability of the mobile phone SMS in women attending the outpatient clinic at Thika Level 5 Hospital
Kabiru, Ephantus W.
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Background: Despite the availability of various cervical cancer screening methods in Kenya, few women are screened and even fewer adhere to subsequent scheduled screening. The WHO recommends that an effective cervical cancer screening program needs to in-cooperate a strong component of call and recall in order to keep eligible women in the screening cycle. With a good mobile phone network the short text message (SMS) was seen as a good tool to enhance regular screening in Kenya and in most developing countries. Objective: The objectives of the study were to determine the adherence to regular cervical cancer screening among women attending the outpatient clinic at Thika hospital, ownership and duration of mobile phones ownership and frequency of change of the mobile phone numbers among women who have ever been screened for cervical cancer as well as assess their ability to read and write short text message (SMS) and previous reception of a health promoting SMS through the mobile phone. Methods: A provider administered questionnaire in a formative cross sectional prospective survey as part of a RCT on the use of the SMS to enhance adherence to scheduled cervical cancer screening. The questionnaire was administered in 193 women attending the general outpatient clinic in Thika hospital. Questions about their adherence to scheduled screening, ownership and usage of the mobile phones and experience with usage of the SMS services were asked. Main outcomes measures: These included adherence to regular cervical cancer screening, ownership and length of ownerships of a mobile phone, change of SIM card numbers and ability to read and write an SMS. Results: It was found that few women (9%) were adherent to regular screening. Majority of these women (98%) owned mobile phones and few (13.2%) ever changed their numbers. Most (92%) were 3 able to read and write an SMS. Very few (2.1%) had ever received 'a health promoting SMS. . Conclusion and recommendation: It was concluded that since many women owned mobile phones and rarely change their numbers and also are able to read an SMS, the SMS can be used as a recall tool to enhance adherence to cervical cancer screening. It was recommended that the SMS should be in-cooperated as a recall tool in the national cervical cancer screening program as per WHO guidelines on cervical cancer screening programs.