Factors influencing utilization of cervical cancer screening services at Central Provincial General Hospital, Nyeri, Kenya
Cervical cancer continues to be a major cause of mortality and morbidity among women worldwide with almost half a million new cases each year .. Developing countries accounts for more that 800/0 of the world cervical cancer death In Kenya, cervical cancer ranks as the second most frequent cancer among women with about 3000 new cases annually. An opportunity to prevent occurrence of cervical cancer exists through cervical cancer screening for early detection and treatment of precancerous lesions before they develop to cancer. However, only a negligible proportion of women benefit from cervical cancer screening services in developing countries, including Kenya. A descriptive survey was carried out in Central Province General Hospital Nyeri, Kenya, to determine the factors influencing utilization of cervical cancer screening services among women between 15-60 years of age seeking Maternal Child Health / Family Planning (MCH/FP). Convenient sampling method was used to identify the required sample for the study. The survey was completed by 290 women who responded to a structured questionnaire. The questions that were asked generated information on the women's level of education, awareness on issues relating to cervical cancer screening services, family support and accesibility and utilization of cervical cancer screening services. Data collected was analyzed using descriptive statistics. Utilization of cervical cancer screening services was found to be low at 24.7% despite the fact that the study group consisted of well educated women who had autonomy in decision making and good family support. Only less than 20% of the women knew the importance of cervical cancer testing and majority (80%) of the respondents could only mention one to two risk factors. The low level of awareness on cervical cancer screening services amongst the study group and the long waiting time in at the clinic are the of factors that negatively influenced in utilization of cervical cancer screening services . Therefore it is important for the Government through the Ministry of health to design and implement awareness campaigns on cervical cancer screening services. This should be done through the media, women groups and chiefs baraza's and should target both men and women in the communities. Doctors and nurses should also intensify health education on cervical cancer screening during every clinical contact. The Provincial General Hospital Should also consider outreach awareness creation and screening camps in order to take the services closer to the community instead of waiting for the women to come for the services at the hospital.