A study to determine Cervical Cancer awareness and uptake of PAP Smear among women above 18 years of age in Livingstone District

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Simaubi, Mulonda Harriet
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The aim of the study was to assess the level of cervical cancer awareness and Pap smear uptake among the women aged 18 years and above in Livingstone District. The specific objectives were to assess cervical cancer awareness among women above 18 years old; assess the level of utilization of the Pap smear services by women above 18 years and explore the relationship between cervical cancer awareness, Pap smear uptake, and selected variable including cultural beliefs, economic status, level of education, age.The Theoretical Framework for this study was based on the Health Belief Model and the Communication-Behavioral Change Model. The Health Belief Model helps to understand human behavior in preventing cervical cancer and the perception women have about the disease. The Communication-Behavioral Change Model was utilized because the model is based on communication inputs and outputs which are designed to influence attitudes and behavior.A cross sectional study was conducted in a compound with a medium population density, located in Livingstone District, Zambia. The compound was selected using a multistage cluster sampling technique. Convenience sampling was used to select the 389 women who were interviewed using a structured interview schedule. Individuals for the focus group discussions were homogeneously selected using purposive sampling method. A total of 12 participants comprising 6 in each group took part in the two focus group discussions (FGDs). The FGDs were held with one group involving those in the age group 18 – 35 years and the other one involving women who were in the age group above 35 years.The SPSS 16.0.1 for Windows software computer package was used to analyze quantitative data. The chi-Square test was used to measure association between the dependent variables (cervical cancer awareness) and independent variables (uptake of Pap smear cultural beliefs, economic status, level of education, age). The cut off point for statistical significance was set at 5%. A full report of the focus group discussions was analyzed using content analysis using participants’ own words. Key statements, ideas and attitudes expressed for each topic of discussion were listed down. Data were coded, responses from different subgroups were compared, and a summary was written in the narrative form. The most useful quotations that emerged from the discussion were selected to illustrate the main ideas.The study revealed low levels of cervical cancer awareness (47.8%) and none of the respondents said they had Pap smears done. The only significant factor that was found to be associated with cervical cancer awareness was economic status (income) of the respondents (61.4%, P value 0.004).The results showed that factors such as age, level of education, marital status, occupation were not significantly associated with cervical cancer awareness and uptake of Pap smear.
Cervix Uteri-Diseases-Diagnosis-Zambia , Women Diseases , Cervical cancer