Knowledge and Practices of Cervical Cancer and Its Prevention Among Malawian Women

  • Johanna E. MareeEmail author
  • Mary Kampinda-Banda


Malawi has the highest incidence of cervical cancer in the world. Due to various challenges the country faces in terms of cervical cancer control, women have a poor chance to survive this disease. The purpose of our study was to describe the knowledge and practices of cervical cancer and its screening as well as the educational preferences of women living in a rural community in the Chiradzulu District. We conducted a survey among women between the ages 30 and 45, used convenience sampling, a calculated sample size (n = 282) and structured interviews to collect the data. A questionnaire adapted from a previous study served as data collection instrument. The data were analysed in Microsoft Excel and chi-square (p < .05) was used to investigate the relationships between the variables. Content analyses analysed the open-ended questions. The mean age of the sample was 36.1 (SD ± 5.1) and the highest percentage (37.4%; n = 98) belonged to the Yao ethnic group. The majority attended primary school (66.0%; n = 173), were married (74.4%; n = 195) and depended on a small business as source of income (55.7%; n = 146). Most of the women (93.4%; n = 247) had heard of cervical cancer and the visual inspection with acetic acid (VIA) screening programme (67.9%; n = 178) but only 22.9% (n = 60) indicated they had been screened. Lack of knowledge of the screening programme was the most common reason for not being screened. Having a demonstration of the VIA procedure was the most popular educational method (92.0%; n = 241) which gives a fresh approach to educational programmes aimed at preventing cervical cancer.


Cervical cancer Cervical cancer screening Cervical screening practices Malawi 



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Copyright information

© American Association for Cancer Education 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Nursing Education, Faculty of Health ScienceUniversity of the WitwatersrandJohannesburgSouth Africa

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