Utilization of the visual inspection screening method for cancer of the cervix in Kitui Central Sub County, Kenya
Mwangi, John Hiuhu
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Cancer of the cervix is a disease of public health importance with a high global morbidity and mortality. More than 266,000 women die every year, 87% of these women coming from low and middle-income countries, where programmes for screening and treatment are deficient or underutilized.The Ministry of Health through the Division of Reproductive Health launched the National Cancer of the cervix Prevention Program, action plan 2005-2009 with the main aim of reducing cancer of the cervix mortality rates. Despite the program being rolled out and services being availed, they remain underutilized and cancer of the cervix mortality remain relatively high in Kenya.This study aimed at establishing the factors influencing utilization of the visual inspection method of cancer of the cervix screening services in Kitui Central Sub county.It assessed the respondents level of awareness about cancer of the cervix prevention, their social demographic, social economic, social cultural characteristics and health care facilities factors as the variables associated with utilization of the availed cervical screening tests. A cross-sectional study design was used. A sample of 370 women of reproductive age attending MCH/FP clinic in public health facilities in the study area were systematically randomly selected and exit interview was the main data collection technique. Key informants were interviewed and facilities readiness to offer screening services was assessed using facility survey checklist. Analysis and Processing of data was computed using Statistical Package SPSS (Version 20).Key informants were also interviewed. The level of awareness on cancer of the cervix prevention among eligible clients in study area was low, 53.8% (n=199) compared to the national target of more than 90% while the prevalence of utilization of VIA/VILI services was also low, 14.9%.against the recommended coverage rate of 70% for the programme to have an impact. There was statistical significant association between utilization of VIA/VILI cancer of the cervix screening services and Awareness on cancer of the cervix and its prevention (OR 3.0675 p=0.000),level of education (=21.728,df=3,p= 0.000),main source of income.(= 15.030,df=2,p=0.01),average monthly income, (=27.942, df=4, p=0.0001), main decision maker in the family, (=6.908, df=2, p=0.032). Public Health facilities were not well staffed and equipped to adequately offer the VIA/VILI screening services effectively. From this study, strategies should be put into place to increase awareness on available methods of screening and importance of being screened for cancer of the cervix among eligible women, Communities should empower women educationally and economically and the County Government should provide public health facilities with adequate human and material resources for cervical screening purpose and together with National Government increase health care provider knowledge and skills.