Barriers to Cervical Cancer Screening in Rural Kenya: Perspectives from a Provider Survey
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Although cervical cancer is highly preventable through screening, it remains the number one cause of cancer-related death in Kenyan women due to lack of funding and infrastructure for prevention programs. In 2012, Family AIDS Care and Education Services in partnership with the Kenya Ministry of Health began offering free screening at eleven rural health facilities. We sought to explore why screening coverage remains low at some sites. We examined the barriers to screening through a survey of 106 healthcare staff. The most frequently cited barriers to service delivery included staffing shortages, lack of trained staff, insufficient space, and supply issues. The patient barriers commonly perceived by the staff included inadequate knowledge, wait time, discomfort with male providers, and fear of pain with the speculum exam. Despite multilateral efforts to implement cervical cancer screening, staff face significant challenges to service provision and increased education is needed for both providers and patients.
KeywordsCervical cancer screening Provider attitudes Sub-Saharan Africa Service barriers Patient barriers
This work was supported by a grant from the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation to the University of California, San Francisco to fund Clinical Research Fellow Joelle Rosser. While working on this project, M.J.H. was supported through a National Institutes of Health career development award (KL2 RR024130-04).
Conflict of interest
The authors do not have any conflicts of interest to report.
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