Factors Affecting the Accessbility of Cervical Cancer Screening Services Among Women With Physical and Sensory Disabilities in Lusaka District

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Hachipola, Mazuba
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University of Zambia
Cervical cancer is one of the major health challenges amongst women in Zambia. While cervical cancer screening has been available in Zambia since 2006 with a relatively wide coverage in Lusaka District, it remains questionable whether women with disabilities have access to these cervical cancer screening services. The aim of this study was to determine factors which influence the accessibility of cervical cancer screening services among women with physical and sensory disabilities. Using a qualitative case study, data was collected through in-depth interviews and key informant interviews from 12 women with disabilities and 6 representatives from health centres and disability organisations respectively in Lusaka District. The data was collected focussed on factors which affect accessibility of cervical cancer screening services amongst women with physical and sensory disabilities. Supplementary document study and field observations were done. Data was analysed using Nvivo 10.0 Windows Evaluation Version to conduct thematic content analysis of key themes and sub-themes of service accessibility of cervical cancer screening. Results showed that cervical cancer screening services were not easily accessible for women with disabilities, with the type and severity of disability being major catalysts. Several factors were found to influence accessibility of cervical cancer screening services; among them were previous negative medical experiences, limited knowledge, communication challenges, social support, inadequate income, distance to nearest screening centre, inappropriate transport, little implementation of legislature and failure to incorporate women with disabilities into existing health policies. Efforts should be directed at improving service delivery of cervical cancer screening by integrating women with disabilities in health promotion activities. There is need to devise strategic ways in which existing legislature can be efficiently enforced so as to compel health facilities to be more accessible to women with disabilities. It is important that future health policy planning should consider the interests of vulnerable populations such as women with disabilities.
Master in Public Health
Lusaka. Cancer Services Program , Cervix uteri--Cancer--Diagnosis.