Factors affecting the utilization of cervical cancer screening services among women aged 18 to 55 years, within the Ejisu Juaben Municipality

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November, 2015
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Cervical cancer is an important public health problem globally and in Ghana. Cure rates are high if the condition is diagnosed early. Screening has a role to play in early diagnosis, but uptake of screening is low in Ghana. The study assessed the proportion of women utilizing cervical cancer screening services. The study also evaluated reasons that may account for low screening rates in the Ejisu-Juaben district of Ghana, including the level of women’s knowledge of cervical cancer screening service, accessibility of the screening service, and women’s reasons for not utilizing cervical cancer screening services. A facility-based quantitative, descriptive cross-sectional study design was used. Data were collected using close-ended structured questionnaires. 395 questionnaires, based on completeness were analyzed. Percentages were calculated and expressed in simple descriptive statistics. 395 people were surveyed. 31 (1%) of those surveyed had had cervical screening. Two variables remained significant after controlling for relevant factors. These are age ( Adj OR = 0.19 CI = 0.53 – 0.68 p=0.01) and knowledge level (Adj OR =7.56 CI=2.36 – 24.14 p=0.001). Other demographic variables such as higher education, Christians, married women, multiparty, and being a salaried worker were associated with acceptance of screening, but the association was not statistically significant. The majority of study respondents stated they would participate in the cervical screening program if it was more accessible and affordable. Including the benefits of screening programs in the educational curriculum may have a positive effect on cervical screening. In addition government policies directed at improving accessibility of cervical cancer screening services, to all women in Ghana could improve uptake and help to reduce the incidence of cervical cancer among Ghanaian women. Government agencies in collaboration with stake holders should develop policies that will ensure accessibility of cervical cancer screening services, to all women in Ghana, Provision of resources, in terms of human, equipment and other logistics for cervical cancer screening is highly recommended. Public enlightenment campaign through the media with women as the main target should be instituted to sensitize women on the importance of being screened.
A thesis submitted to the Department of Health Policy Management and Economics, School of Public Health, KNUST in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Science in Public Health in Health Service Planning and Management,