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Knowledge, attitudes, and practices regarding cervical cancer and screening among Ethiopian health care workers

Authors Kress C, Sharling L, Owen-Smith A, Desalegn D, Blumberg H, Goedken J

Received 20 March 2015

Accepted for publication 4 May 2015

Published 31 July 2015 Volume 2015:7 Pages 765—772


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single anonymous peer review

Peer reviewer comments 3

Editor who approved publication: Professor Elie Al-Chaer

Catherine M Kress,1 Lisa Sharling,2 Ashli A Owen-Smith,3 Dawit Desalegn,4 Henry M Blumberg,2 Jennifer Goedken1

1Department of Gynecology and Obstetrics, 2Division of Infectious Diseases, Department of Medicine, 3Department of Behavioral Sciences and Health Education, Rollins School of Public Health, Emory University, Atlanta, GA, USA; 4Department of Gynecology and Obstetrics, Addis Ababa University School of Medicine, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

Background: Though cervical cancer incidence has dramatically decreased in resource rich regions due to the implementation of universal screening programs, it remains one of the most common cancers affecting women worldwide and has one of the highest mortality rates. The vast majority of cervical cancer-related deaths are among women that have never been screened. Prior to implementation of a screening program in Addis Ababa University-affiliated hospitals in Ethiopia, a survey was conducted to assess knowledge of cervical cancer etiology, risk factors, and screening, as well as attitudes and practices regarding cervical cancer screening among women’s health care providers.
Methods: Between February and March 2012 an anonymous, self-administered survey to assess knowledge, attitudes, and practices related to cervical cancer and its prevention was distributed to 334 health care providers at three government hospitals in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia and three Family Guidance Association clinics in Awassa, Adama, and Bahir Dar. Data were analyzed using SPSS software and chi-square test was used to test differences in knowledge, attitudes, and practices across provider type.
Results: Overall knowledge surrounding cervical cancer was high, although awareness of etiology and risk factors was low among nurses and midwives. Providers had no experience performing cervical cancer screening on a routine basis with <40% having performed any type of cervical cancer screening. Reported barriers to performing screening were lack of training (52%) and resources (53%); however the majority (97%) of providers indicated cervical cancer screening is an essential part of women’s health care.
Conclusion: There is a clear need among women’s health care providers for education regarding cervical cancer etiology, risk factors and for training in low-tech, low-cost screening methods. Meeting these needs and improving the infrastructure necessary to implement appropriate screening programs is essential to reduce the burden of cervical cancer in Ethiopia.

Keywords: cervical cancer, visual inspection, acetic acid, cryotherapy, Ethiopia

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