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Education a factor

Litia Mathewsell
Wednesday, March 18, 2015

HEALTH clinics for rural women in the West detected early stages of cervical cancer for some and noted the willingness to undergo Pap smears was largely influenced by the participant's education level.

This was part of the Viseisei Sai Health Centre women's health awareness education and outreach clinic project and spanned from November 2012 to December 2014.

A report on its findings were launched yesterday by the European Union, and noted from the 4016 Pap smears performed, seven women were clinically diagnosed with cervical cancer.

"Women with primary, secondary or tertiary level education were more likely to have a Pap smear compared to women who had no education," the report said.

It added, however, that many tertiary-educated women presenting themselves at the clinics had never had a Pap smear.

"Married women were more likely to have Pap smears compared to single women. Age was not a predictor of whether a woman had a Pap smear or not."

A reported 452 women had complicated gynaecological or other problems and referred for further specialist services, while 1557 girls and women were counselled on contraceptive use and services. Fifty women reported high-grade abnormal Pap smear results and were referred for colposcopy and further management.

"Fijians of Indian descent women were less likely to have Pap smears compared to iTaukei women. Whether a woman had a Pap or not was highly influenced by her level of education, higher parity and marital status (single women less likely to do it)."

The report said there was no difference in the numbers of iTaukei and Fijians of Indian descent women who attended the outreach clinics, for which 11,103 people received reproductive health education.

Research nurse Amelia Ake, who conducted a large number of the Pap smears during the mobile clinics, said distances to hospitals and health facilities was a barrier for rural women in accessing reproductive health services.

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