Background: Among the most prominent causes of death in African women, cervical cancer takes top priority. This study examines the perception of Papanicolau smear, document its utilization and assess its sources of information among female nurses in a tertiary health institution in Southwest Nigeria.
Study Design: A semi-structured open and close-ended questionnaire was designed, piloted and adopted. The study employed a cross-sectional descriptive approach and a systematic random sampling technique to select 210 sexually active nurses in different sessions of wards, theatres and clinics in a tertiary teaching hospital in Southwest Nigeria. Data analysis by SPSS 16 software used descriptive statistics and test. A P-value of ≤0.5 was taken as statistically significant value. Ethical clearance was taken from the institutions while informed consent was taken from each subject.
Results: Among the 210 respondents (mean age 39.4 years), majority (96.2%) were Christians, 61.0% were sexually active within the previous 6 months and 175 (83.3%) were parous. Formal lectures and trainings were the most common (73.8%) sources of information on cervical cancer. Multiple sexual partner and early sexual activity were correctly identified by 87.3% and 77.6% respectively as risks for developing cervical cancer. While respondents demonstrated adequate knowledge both for risk factors (75.2%) and symptoms (88.6%) of cervical cancer, this knowledge was not associated with age, marital status or years of working experience.
Conclusion: Since most female nurses are among health workers who provide health education for secondary school students and women in rural communities, awareness on perception of cervical cancer being high among female nurses is of significant importance.
Oluwafunmilola Biobaku, Professor Adesegun O. Fatusi, Bamgboye M. Afolabi
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