Background: Cervical cancer is a leading cancer and cause of premature death among women in Uganda aged 15 to 44 years. To address the increasing burden of cervical cancer in Uganda, the Ministry of Health has adopted several strategies which include public education and advocacy. This study aims to assess knowledge, attitudes, and practice of cervical cancer prevention among health workers employed in rural health centres (HCs) III and IV in the Acholi sub-region of Northern Uganda.
Methods: We conducted a cross-sectional survey of nurses, midwives, and clinical officers between February and April 2019 using self-administered questionnaire. We sampled fifty-four HCs III and eight HCs IV. In Uganda, HCs are structured from HC I to HC IV and the health care package provided increases with increasing level of the HC. We used Epidata version 3.1 to create database and analysis was performed using Stata 16. Descriptive and logistic regression analyses were performed. Factors with p-values ≤ 0.05 were considered as predictors of outcome.
Results: There were 286 participants who completed the questionnaire: Majority (188, 66%) were females. Nurses were 153 (54%). 141 (75%) female participants self-reported to have been screened for cervical cancer. 171 (60%) participants had adequate knowledge of cervical cancer. 187 (66%) participants had positive attitudes. Participants who indicated not to have ever received training on cervical cancer screening were less likely to have adequate knowledge (AOR = 0.39, 95% CI 0.21-0.71). Participants who indicated not to have ever been trained on cervical cancer screening were less likely to have positive attitudes (AOR = 0.52, 95% CI 0.28-0.97).
Conclusion: Health workers from rural HCs in Uganda play crucial role in cervical cancer prevention as they can reach a wider community. Their significance in the prevention of cervical cancer points to the need for Uganda and other sub-Sahara Africa (SSA) countries to establish training to improve their knowledge, attitudes, and practical skills on cervical cancer screening. Furthermore, Uganda government should develop and disseminate guidelines for cervical cancer prevention to rural health workers to promote standardised cervical cancer prevention activities.
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- Health workers
- Cervical cancer
- Northern Uganda
- Rural health workers