Knowledge towards cervical cancer prevention and screening practices among women who attended reproductive and child health clinic at Magu district hospital, Lake Zone Tanzania: a cross-sectional study

Mabula M. Mabelele, John Materu, Faraja D. Ng’ida and Michael J. Mahande
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Cervical cancer is a global leading cause of morbidity and mortality, attributable to the death of approximately 266,000 women every year. Majority (87%) of cervical cancer deaths occur in developing countries including Tanzania. Though knowledge of cervical cancer is an important determinant of women’s participation in prevention and screening for cervical cancer, little is known about this topic in Tanzania. This study aimed to determine the knowledge of cervical cancer prevention services and screening practices among women who attended Reproductive Child Health clinic at a district hospital in Lake Zone, Tanzania. This information is important to help designing appropriate interventions and scaling up cervical cancer control programs, hence accelerate the achievement towards Sustainable Development Goals.


A cross-sectional study was conducted from March to June 2017, involving 307 women attending reproductive and child health clinic at Magu district hospital. A questionnaire adopted from the validated Cervical Cancer Awareness Measure was used to collect data from the study participants. Data was analysed using SPSS version 20. Descriptive statistics were summarized using frequencies and percentages for categorical variables while mean and standard deviation was used for continuous variables. Multivariable logistic regressions model was used to estimate Adjusted Odds ratio with 95% CI for factors associated with knowledge.


Knowledge of cervical cancer was low, where 82.7% of the women scored less than 50%. Majority (82.4%) were aware about cervical cancer. Secondary education or higher (OR = 7.77, 95% CI: 1.70-35.48) and “knowing someone who has ever had cervical cancer” (OR = 2.19, 95% CI: 1.16-4.13) were significantly associated with higher knowledge. Only 14.3% of participants practiced cervical cancer screening.


Majority of women lack comprehensive knowledge of cervical cancer and only few utilize screening services. Strategies for awareness creation about cervical cancer may help to improve knowledge and utilization of cancer screening practices.