Factors influencing the utilization of Cervical Cancer screening services in Gesima Division, Nyamira County, Kenya
Cancer of the cervix is a leading cause of deaths among women. IUs preventable through regular screening of women at risk for abnormal changes in the cervix and treating those who have positive results. The international goal to achieve universal access to reproductive health cannot be achieved unless women are brought into the mainstream and included in policies and programs to improve their sexual and reproductive health. In Kenya, the incidence and mortality from cervical cancer remains high and many women visit health facilities with late stage diseases. The purpose of the study is to find out the factors influencing the uptake of cervical cancer screening services in Gesima Division in Nyamira County, Kenya and design the intervention to improve the utilization of cervical cancer screening services. A cross-sectional survey-based descriptive study was undertaken in Gesima Division targeting women 18 years and above. Data collection was performed by means of questionnaire, observation and interview. A total of 174 respondents were enumerated as respondents to a structured questionnaire and 3 medical officers interviewed to give qualitative data on the status of screening services in the region in regard to the objectives of the study. Gesima Division is in a rural setting where the awareness levels and knowledge on cervical cancer and cervical cancer screening services is limited. As such, the objectives of the study were to assess the factors that influence the utilization of cervical cancer screening services in Gesima Division, Nyamira County. Such factors included awareness and knowledge levels, accessibility to health facilities, and availability of qualified personnel and economic factors. Gesima Division has a total population of about 53,000. The sample size of 174 women aged 18 years and above was targeted as respondents to questionnaires administered by 5 research assistants. 3 medical/clinical officers were also interviewed to provide qualitative information. Proportionality was determined by Chisquare, while associations were carried out through logistic regression using SPSS version 16.0. The study findings showed that adequate cervical cancer screening coverage was dependent on knowledge of the benefits of cervical cancer screening and enabling environment to enhance screening. The study findings would be used for planning and designing appropriate interventions by the Ministry of Health, NGOs and other stakeholders in a view to create awareness and enhance cervical cancer screening services utilization in the region and beyond in order to avert the trend and prevalence of cervical cancer. This project report does not claim to capture the complex reality of factors influencing the utilization of cervical cancer screening services in Kenya, but highlights some key issues in a hitherto largely under-research domain.