Journal of Immigrant and Minority Health

, Volume 17, Issue 3, pp 722–728 | Cite as

Cervical Cancer: Barriers to Screening in the Somali Community in Minnesota

  • Rahel G. Ghebre
  • Barrett Sewali
  • Sirad Osman
  • Amira Adawe
  • Hai T. Nguyen
  • Kolawole S. Okuyemi
  • Anne Joseph
Original Paper


This study examined barriers to and facilitators of cervical cancer screening among Somali immigrant women in Minnesota. We adopted the socioecological framework to illustrate screening barriers at multiple levels. We conducted 23 semi-structured key informant interviews and used a thematic exploratory approach to analyze the data. Barriers were classified into individual, community or health systems levels. Obstacles included lack of knowledge, religious beliefs, fatalism, fear, embarrassment, and lack of trust in the interpreters. Participants described a need for training of healthcare providers on issues surrounding Somali women’s cultural practices and sexual health. Identifying individual, community, or health system barriers and addressing them concurrently may increase use of cancer screening services among Somali women. Future interventions need to address multilevel barriers with multilevel approaches to improve utilization of cervical cancer screening services in underserved immigrant populations in the United States.


Cervical cancer Screening Somali women Qualitative 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Rahel G. Ghebre
    • 1
  • Barrett Sewali
    • 5
    • 6
  • Sirad Osman
    • 2
  • Amira Adawe
    • 3
  • Hai T. Nguyen
    • 4
  • Kolawole S. Okuyemi
    • 5
    • 6
  • Anne Joseph
    • 5
    • 7
  1. 1.Division of Gynecologic Oncology, Department of Obstetrics and GynecologyUniversity of MinnesotaMinneapolisUSA
  2. 2.New American Community ServicesMinneapolisUSA
  3. 3.School of Public HealthUniversity of MinnesotaMinneapolisUSA
  4. 4.University of Minnesota Medical SchoolMinneapolisUSA
  5. 5.Program in Health Disparities ResearchUniversity of Minnesota Medical SchoolMinneapolisUSA
  6. 6.Department of Family Medicine and Community HealthUniversity of Minnesota Medical SchoolMinneapolisUSA
  7. 7.Department of MedicineUniversity of Minnesota Medical SchoolMinneapolisUSA

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