Cervical Cancer Prevention Practices among Women of Reproductive Age in Kiambu County, Kenya
Ndung’u, Paul Maina
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Cervical cancer is a preventable disease but it remains a significant cause of deaths in the developing countries. Globally, nearly 530,000 new cases and 266,000 deaths are registered annually. In Kenya, nearly 4800 women are diagnosed with cervical cancer every year and over 3200 of these cases succumb to this disease. The main objectives of this survey was to determine the level of knowledge of the cervical cancer risk factors, prevention practices towards cervical cancer, and perceived barriers to cervical cancer screening among women of reproductive age. The survey adopted a descriptive cross-sectional study design and was completed among 422 respondents in systematically chosen households. Multistage sampling was adopted to choose the research participants. Questionnaires were used to collect quantitative data while FGDs facilitated gathering of qualitative data. Insights of health officials such as managers, facility administrators and nurses were obtained via KIIs. The investigator processed the data using SPSS software version 20. Logistic regression and chi square tests were used in data analysis and test hypothesis. Data was presented in column graphs/charts and tables. Results indicated that out of 422 respondents, 16.8% (n=71) had been screened for cervical cancer. Of the unscreened respondents (n=351), 86.6% (n=304) were aware of screening for cervical cancer. There was a strong statistical difference between education level (P<0.001) and household income (P<0.001) with use of screening services. The mean knowledge score of risk factors for cervical cancer was 2.23 (95% CI: 2.09-2.37) out of the possible score of 6. Two hundred and twenty eight respondents (54.1%) could identify at least one risk factor for cervical cancer. There was significant statistical difference between knowledge level of cervical cancer risk factors and screening (P=0.017). Knowledge level on risk factors for cervical cancer was a significant predictor for having a cervical cancer screen (P=0.022). Respondents who had least knowledge level on risk factor for cervical cancer were about 14 times more likely to be unscreened as compared to those who had highest knowledge level [OR, 17.40 (95% CI: 1.510-200.6) P=0.02]. On perceived barriers, there was statistically significant difference between perceived embarrassment and cervical cancer screening (P<0.001). The study concluded that few people had undergone cervical cancer screening at 16.8% against national target of 75%. Knowledge of cervical cancer risk factors was a major determinant of participating in cervical cancer screening. The study recommended that county government of Kiambu should use strategies such as promoting women education and improving standards of living for women to increase screening rate. Furthermore, Kiambu County Government and stakeholders should use mass media to educate residents about cervical cancer risk factors. In addition, health facilities should initiate self-testing kits of the patients to eliminate perceived embarrassment in the screening process.