Awareness and prevention of cervical cancer among female health professionals: a study of three health institutions in Winneba, Ghana

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Globally, every two minutes, at least one woman dies from cervical cancer. It is the second most common cancer worldwide for women after breast cancer. Every year, around 494,000 develop cervical cancer globally and almost 49.5% (233,000) die from the disease annually with about 80% (376,000) in developing countries. Little evidence exists on the extent of cervical cancer awareness among health professionals in the Winneba Municipality. This was a cross-sectional study with the aim of assessing the awareness of cervical cancer and its prevention amongst female health professionals in the Winneba Municipality. A sample of 204 respondents was selected by a multi stage cluster sampling technique. The awareness of cervical cancer among the female health professionals was generally high (99%), with their predominant source of information being school (37%) followed by the internet (22%). Knowledge about the signs and symptoms of the disease were insufficient as about half of the respondents did not know whether persistent lower back pain, bleeding from vagina, persistent pelvic pain and unexplained weight loss were signs and symptoms of the disease or not. Also, knowledge about the risk factors was inadequate as some of the respondents were not sure whether smoking any form of cigarettes (65%), infection with Chlamydia (51%), having a sexual partner who is not circumcised (29%), having many children (65%) and not going for regular pap smear (50%) increased one‟s risk of developing cervical cancer or not. The study revealed inadequate knowledge about cervical cancer amongst female health professionals in the Winneba Municipality. Interventions by stakeholders especially the Winneba Municipal Health Directorate should be geared towards addressing the inadequacy of cervical cancer knowledge amongst its health providers by organising training programmes to address the setback.
A dissertation submitted to the School of Graduate Studies, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, Kumasi in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Public Health (MPH) in Health Education and Promotion