Facilitators and barriers to cervical cancer screening among female undergraduate students of Makerere University
Namuyingo Brenda, Desire
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There is a higher Human Papilloma Virus peak prevalence in younger women (18-25 years) of university age. The undergraduate university students are more at a risk of acquiring cervical cancer because they are at the stage of exploring which predisposes them to risky behavior like early sexual intercourse and multiple sexual partners among others. This creates a need for cervical cancer screening in the population. The facilitators and barriers to cervical cancer screening have been studied in the Ugandan general population but little is known among University students which this study is taking interest. Objective: This study is aimed at determining the facilitators, barriers and background factors associated to cervical cancer screening among female undergraduate students in Makerere University. Methods; Four hundred twenty-two (422) female undergraduate students of Makerere University who fit the eligibility criteria were recruited in this descriptive cross-sectional quantitative study. A self- administered semi structured questionnaire was administered to these participants chosen by convenient sampling. Data collected was be analyzed using SPSS version 23 software and logistic regression models was used. Results; Less than a half of (21.1%) of the participants had ever screened for cervical cancer. At multivariate analysis, only year of study and married status were associated to cervical cancer screening with a P-values were of (0.015) and (0.001) with a (1.173-4.261) and (1.594-6.130) 95% C.I respectively. The facilitators agreed upon by participants included: Access to free cervical cancer screening services, adequate knowledge about cervical cancer screening and advice from a friend, family or physician among others. The reported barriers to screening were fear of bad result, low risk perception and fear of embarrassment among others. Conclusions and recommendations; Among the female undergraduate students of Makerere University, only 21.1% had screened for cervical cancer. Therefore there is a critical need for university based cancer education campaign on cervical cancer and the benefits of screening. Screening services should be integrated into the existing university medical services.