Studies from Tamil Nadu, South India, have reported the world's highest suicide rates. As per official reports, Kerala, another South Indian state has the highest suicide rate among the major states in India.
The purpose of this analysis is to estimate the rates and age-specific incidence of suicide in a rural community in Kerala, under continuous observation for the last five years.
Settings and Design:
The study setting comprised of seven contiguous panchayats constituting a development block in Kerala. A prospective cohort study design was used.
Materials and Methods:
Through regular home visits, every death that occurred in the community was captured by local resident health workers and the cause of death assigned.
Suicide rates by age and sex and relative share of suicide deaths to all-cause deaths in men and women were calculated.
During the five-year period from 2002 to 2007, 284 cases of suicide were reported. The suicide rates were 44.7/100,000 for males and 26.8/100,000 for females. Male to female suicide ratio was 1.7. Among females aged between 15 and 24, suicides constituted more than 50% of all deaths. Male to female ratio of suicide varied from 0.4 in children aged 14 years or less to 4.5 in the 45-54 year age group.
Our analysis shows that the level of under-reporting of suicides in rural Kerala is much less than that reported in Tamil Nadu.
Kerala; South India; suicide
To examine the social patterning of women's self‐reported health status in India and the validity of the two hypotheses: (1) low caste and lower socioeconomic position is associated with worse reported health status, and (2) associations between socioeconomic position and reported health status vary across castes.
Cross‐sectional household survey, age‐adjusted percentages and odds ratios, and multilevel multinomial logistic regression models were used for analysis.
A panchayat (territorial decentralised unit) in Kerala, India, in 2003.
4196 non‐elderly women.
Self‐perceived health status and reported limitations in activities in daily living.
Women from lower castes (scheduled castes/scheduled tribes (SC/ST) and other backward castes (OBC) reported a higher prevalence of poor health than women from forward castes. Socioeconomic inequalities were observed in health regardless of the indicators, education, women's employment status or household landholdings. The multilevel multinomial models indicate that the associations between socioeconomic indicators and health vary across caste. Among SC/ST and OBC women, the influence of socioeconomic variables led to a “magnifying” effect, whereas among forward caste women, a “buffering” effect was found. Among lower caste women, the associations between socioeconomic factors and self‐assessed health are graded; the associations are strongest when comparing the lowest and highest ratings of health.
Even in a relatively egalitarian state in India, there are caste and socioeconomic inequalities in women's health. Implementing interventions that concomitantly deal with caste and socioeconomic disparities will likely produce more equitable results than targeting either type of inequality in isolation.
The health and well-being of widows in India is an important but neglected issue of public health and women’s rights. We investigate the lives of Indian women as they become widows, focussing on the causes of their husband’s mortality and the ensuing consequences of these causes on their own lives and identify the opportunities and challenges that widows face in living healthy and fulfilling lives.
Data were collected in a Gram Panchayat (lowest level territorial decentralised unit) in the south Indian state of Kerala. Interviews were undertaken with key informants in order to gain an understanding of local constructions of ‘widowhood’ and the welfare and social opportunities for widows. Then we conducted semi-structured interviews with widows in the community on issues related to health and vulnerability, enabling us to hear perspectives from widows. Data were analysed for thematic content and emerging patterns. We synthesized our findings with theoretical understandings of vulnerability and Amartya Sen’s entitlements theory to develop a conceptual framework.
Two salient findings of the study are: first, becoming a widow can be viewed as a type of ‘shock’ that operates similarly to other ‘economic shocks’ or ‘health shocks’ in poor countries except that the burden falls disproportionately on women. Second, widowhood is not a static phenomenon, but rather can be viewed as a multi-phased process with different public health implications at each stage.
More research on widows in India and other countries will help to both elucidate the challenges faced by widows and encourage potential solutions. The framework developed in this paper could be used to guide future research on widows.
The short-term objective of our endeavour was to understand the perception of Grama panchayat presidents and secretaries on the issues related to malaria and its control, being the key leaders of the Panchayat Raj Institutions (PRIs) at a Grama panchayat level. This was necessary to achieve the long-term objective of the role of PRIs in malaria control and their enhanced participation/partnership with the public health sector.
Materials and Methods:
Grama panchayat presidents and secretaries representing all the 28 Grama panchayats of Chikkanayakanahalli taluk Tumkur district in Karnataka were invited for a 1-day workshop. Deliberations with the participants (n = 32) shed light on their perceptions with respect to knowledge, attitude and practice vis-a-vis malaria and its control strategies.
Their knowledge of malaria as a disease was fairly good as they were well aware of it being a communicable disease and its transmission by mosquitoes. However, knowledge about the breeding sources of malaria mosquitoes (Anophelines) was very poor. Many practices in vogue to control mosquitoes at the community level were unscientific. There was a general negative attitude toward the government's handling of the malaria problem and the credibility of the health care system.
Existence of health committees in every Grama panchayat coupled with their jurisdiction and responsibilities toward sanitation, water supply and health care resources makes PRIs a natural partner to the health sector. While health education and public health intervention strategies should be based on generic principles of science, the implementation and operational specifics should definitely be based on a sociological perspective of the stakeholders.
Grama panchayat; intersectoral; KAP; malaria; social factors; rural governance
For the first time in India, a Pain and Palliative Care policy to guide the community-based home care initiatives was declared by the Government of Kerala state. In Kerala, majority of the panchayats (local self-governments) are now conducting home-based palliative care as part of primary health care. National focus domain areas in palliative care research are structure and process, the physical aspects, and also the social aspects of care.
The study was conducted to assess the patient's status and the services provided by palliative home care.
Settings and Design:
The descriptive study was conducted at Mavoor panchayat—Kozhikode district of Kerala, India by collecting information from the case records, nurses diary notes of all enrolled patients.
Materials and Methods:
Collecting information from the case records, nurses diary notes of all enrolled patients.
The data were entered using Microsoft excel for Windows XP and analyzed using SPSS 16.0 (Statistical Package for Social Sciences; SPSS Inc., Chicago, IL, USA).
Totally, 104 patients were enrolled. Diagnosis wise major category was degenerative diseases. There were 27% persons suffering from cerebrovascular accidents, 15.3% with malignancies, 8.7% with coronary artery disease, 5.8% with complications of diabetes, and 8.7% were with fracture of bones. The major complaints were weakness (41.3%), tiredness (31.7%), and pain (27%). Twenty-five percent persons complained of urinary incontinence, 12.5% complained of ulcer, 10.6% of edema, and 9.6% of mental/emotional agony. The activity of daily living status was as follows. Twenty-five percent subjects were completely bed ridden. 5.8% were feeding through Ryles tube, 16.3% had urinary incontinence, 9.6% were having no bowel control.
The service could address most of the medical, psychosocial, and supportive needs of the patients and reduce their pain and symptoms. The interface between institutional-based care and home care needs more exploration and prospective studies.
Activity of daily living; Community nurse; Home-based palliative care; Primary care; Quality of life
This study examines associations between female participation in a microcredit program in India, known as self help groups (SHGs), and women's health in the south Indian state of Kerala. Because SHGs do not have a formal health program, this provides a unique opportunity to assess whether SHG participation influences women's health via the social determinants of health.
This cross-sectional study used special survey data collected in 2003 from one Panchayat (territorial decentralized unit). Information was collected on women's characteristics, health determinants (exclusion to health care, exposure to health risks, decision-making agency), and health achievements (self assessed health, markers of mental health). The study sample included 928 non elderly poor women.
The primary finding is that compared to non-participants living in a household without a SHG member, the odds of facing exclusion is significantly lower among early joiners, women who were members for more than 2 years (OR = 0.58, CI = 0.41–0.80), late joiners, members for 2 years and less (OR = 0.60, CI = 0.39–0.94), and non-participants who live in a household with a SHG member (OR = 0.53, CI = 0.32–0.90). We also found that after controlling for key women's characteristics, early joiners of a SHG are less likely to report emotional stress and poor life satisfaction compared to non-members (OR = 0.52, CI = 0.30–0.93; OR = 0.32, CI = 0.14–0.71). No associations were found between SHG participation and self assessed health or exposure to health risks. The relationship between SHG participation and decision-making agency is unclear.
Microcredit is not a panacea, but could help to improve the health of poor women by addressing certain issues relevant to the context. In Kerala, SHG participation can help protect poor women against exclusion to health care and possibly aid in promoting their mental health.
Cervical cancer is the primary cause of death due to cancer in women in Chuuk State, Federated States of Micronesia. The Chuukese population is the fastest growing segment of the Micronesian community in Hawai‘i. Little is known about the health beliefs or practices of this population in Hawai‘i. The purpose of this project was to describe the knowledge, attitudes, and beliefs of Chuukese women in Hawai‘i regarding cervical cancer prevention and screening.
Research assistants from the Chuukese community were recruited and trained as members of the research team. A culturally sensitive survey tool was developed and piloted by the research team and used to interview ten key informants from the Chuukese community in Honolulu, Hawai‘i.
There is limited knowledge about cervical cancer, especially the association with human papillomavirus (HPV). This may be indicative of a lack of health information in general. Fear, privacy concerns, lack of awareness and cultural beliefs represent the main barriers mentioned when discussing cervical cancer. Education, done in a group setting with other women, is the most recommended method of informing this community and improving preventive and screening services for cervical cancer in these women.
Cervical cancer is the commonest cancer of women in Uganda. Over 80% of women diagnosed in Mulago national referral and teaching hospital, the biggest hospital in Uganda, have advanced disease. Pap smear screening, on opportunistic rather than systematic basis, is offered free in the gynaecological outpatients clinic and the postnatal/family planning clinics. Medical students in the third and final clerkships are expected to learn the techniques of screening. Objectives of this study were to describe knowledge on cervical cancer, attitudes and practices towards cervical cancer screening among the medical workers of Mulago hospital.
In a descriptive cross-sectional study, a weighted sample of 310 medical workers including nurses, doctors and final year medical students were interviewed using a self-administered questionnaire. We measured knowledge about cervical cancer: (risk factors, eligibility for screening and screening techniques), attitudes towards cervical cancer screening and practices regarding screening.
Response rate was 92% (285). Of these, 93% considered cancer of the cervix a public health problem and knowledge about Pap smear was 83% among respondents. Less than 40% knew risk factors for cervical cancer, eligibility for and screening interval. Of the female respondents, 65% didn't feel susceptible to cervical cancer and 81% had never been screened. Of the male respondents, only 26% had partners who had ever been screened. Only 14% of the final year medical students felt skilled enough to use a vaginal speculum and 87% had never performed a pap smear.
Despite knowledge of the gravity of cervical cancer and prevention by screening using a Pap smear, attitudes and practices towards screening were negative. The medical workers who should be responsible for opportunistic screening of women they care for are not keen on getting screened themselves. There is need to explain/understand the cause of these attitudes and practices and identify possible interventions to change them. Medical students leave medical school without adequate skills to be able to effectively screen women for cervical cancer wherever they go to practice. Medical students and nurses training curricula needs review to incorporate practical skills on cervical cancer screening.
Visual inspection of the uterine cervix by paramedical personnel has been proposed for the early detection of cervical cancer, as an alternative to routine cytology screening in developing countries. We evaluated the performance of this procedure in detecting precursor lesions and cancer in a study involving 2843 married women in Kerala, India. Two thresholds were used to define a positive test. In the lower one, any abnormality was considered as positive. The cut-off point for the high threshold was one or more of the high-risk findings: bleeding on touch, suspicious growth/ulcer and hard, irregular, oedematous cervix. A Pap smear was performed on all subjects, and a biopsy was done for those with moderate dysplasia and above. A combination of cytology and histology findings was used as the 'gold standard'. Using the low threshold, 1279 (45%) women were positive on visual inspection, and with the higher threshold 179 (6.3%) were positive. There were six moderate dysplasias, nine severe dysplasias, ten carcinomas in situ and 13 invasive carcinomas. With the lower threshold, sensitivity and specificity to detect moderate dysplasia and above were 65.8% and 55.3% respectively; the values for severe dysplasia and above were 71.9% and 55.3% respectively and for invasive cancer were 92.3% and 55.2% respectively. With the higher threshold, the sensitivity decreased considerably (28.9% to detect moderate dysplasia lesions, 31.3% for severe dysplasia and 53.8% for clinical cancer) and the specificity increased to approximately 94%. At a lower threshold, the sensitivity was not satisfactory, and the test was highly non-specific; at a higher threshold sensitivity was even lower. Thus, the test characteristics of visual inspection are not very promising either as a preselection procedure for cytology or as a low-technology measure for cervical cancer screening in developing countries.
The present zootherapeutic study describes the traditional knowledge related to the use of different animals and animal-derived products as medicines by the Saharia tribe reside in the Shahabad and Kishanganj Panchayat Samiti's of Baran district of Rajasthan, India. A field survey was conducted from April to June 2006 by performing interview through structured questionnaire with 21 selected respondents, who provided information regarding use of animals and their products in folk medicine. A total of 15 animal species were recorded and they are used for different ethnomedical purposes, including cough, asthma, tuberculosis, paralysis, earache, herpes, weakness, muscular pain etc. The zootherapeutic knowledge was mostly based on domestic animals, but some protected species like the peacock (Pavo cristatus,), hard shelled turtle (Kachuga tentoria), sambhar (Cervus unicolor) were also mentioned as medicinal resources. We would suggest that this kind of neglected traditional knowledge should be included into the strategies of conservation and management of faunistic resources. Further studies are required for experimental validation to confirm the presence of bioactive compounds in these traditional remedies and also to emphasize more sustainable use of these resources.
In Greenland, the incidence of cervical cancer caused by human papillomavirus (HPV) is 25 per 100,000 women; 2.5 times the Danish rate. In Greenland, the disease is most frequent among women aged 30–40. Systematic screening can identify women with cervical cell changes, which if untreated may cause cervical cancer. In 2007, less than 40% of eligible women in Greenland participated in screening.
To examine Greenlandic women's perception of disease, their understanding of the connection between HPV and cervical cancer, and the knowledge that they deem necessary to decide whether to participate in cervical cancer screening.
The methods used to perform this research were 2 focus-group interviews with 5 Danish-speaking women and 2 individual interviews with Greenlandic-speaking women. The analysis involved a phenomenological-hermeneutic approach with 3 levels of analysis: naive reading, structural analysis and critical interpretation.
These revealed that women were unprepared for screening results showing cervical cell changes, since they had no symptoms. When diagnosed, participants believed that they had early-stage cancer, leading to feelings of vulnerability and an increased need to care for themselves. Later on, an understanding of HPV as the basis for diagnosis and the realization that disease might not be accompanied by symptoms developed. The outcome for participants was a life experience, which they used to encourage others to participate in screening and to suggest ways that information about screening and HPV might reach a wider Greenlandic population.
Women living through the process of cervical disease, treatment and follow-up develop knowledge about HPV, cervical cell changes, cervical disease and their connection, which, if used to inform cervical screening programmes, will improve the quality of information about HPV, cervical cancer and screening participation. This includes that verbal and written information given at the point of screening and diagnosis needs to be complemented by visual imagery.
cervical cancer; HPV; Greenland; interview; nursing; perceptions of health and disease; public health programming; screening
In the Indian context, a household's caste characteristics are most relevant for identifying its poverty and vulnerability status. Inadequate provision of public health care, the near-absence of health insurance and increasing dependence on the private health sector have impoverished the poor and the marginalised, especially the scheduled tribe population. This study examines caste-based inequalities in households' out-of-pocket health expenditure in the south Indian state of Kerala and provides evidence on the consequent financial burden inflicted upon households in different caste groups.
Using data from a 2003-2004 panel survey in Kottathara Panchayat that collected detailed information on health care consumption from 543 households, we analysed inequality in per capita out-of-pocket health expenditure across castes by considering households' health care needs and types of care utilised. We used multivariate regression to measure the caste-based inequality in health expenditure. To assess health expenditure burden, we analysed households incurring high health expenses and their sources of finance for meeting health expenses.
The per capita health expenditures reported by four caste groups accord with their status in the caste hierarchy. This was confirmed by multivariate analysis after controlling for health care needs and influential confounders. Households with high health care needs are more disadvantaged in terms of spending on health care. Households with high health care needs are generally at higher risk of spending heavily on health care. Hospitalisation expenditure was found to have the most impoverishing impacts, especially on backward caste households.
Caste-based inequality in household health expenditure reflects unequal access to quality health care by different caste groups. Households with high health care needs and chronic health care needs are most affected by this inequality. Households in the most marginalised castes and with high health care need require protection against impoverishing health expenditures. Special emphasis must be given to funding hospitalisation, as this expenditure puts households most at risk in terms of mobilising monetary resources. However, designing protection instruments requires deeper understanding of how the uncovered financial burden of out-patient and hospitalisation expenditure creates negative consequences and of the relative magnitude of this burden on households.
HIV-infected women are at a higher risk of cervical intraepithelial neoplasia (CIN) and cancer than women in the general population, partly due to a high prevalence of persistent human papillomavirus (HPV) infection. The aim of the study was to assess the burden of HPV infection, cervical abnormalities, and cervical cancer among a cohort of HIV-infected women as part of a routine screening in an urban overpopulated slum setting in Mumbai, India.
From May 2010 to October 2010, Médecins Sans Frontières and Tata Memorial Hospital Mumbai offered routine annual Pap smears and HPV DNA testing of women attending an antiretroviral therapy (ART) clinic and a 12-month follow-up. Women with abnormal test results were offered cervical biopsy and treatment, including treatment for sexually transmitted infections (STIs).
Ninety-five women were screened. Median age was 38 years (IQR: 33–41); median nadir CD4-count 143 cells/μL (IQR: 79–270); and median time on ART 23 months (IQR:10–41). HPV DNA was detected in 30/94 women (32%), and 18/94 (19%) showed either low-grade or high-grade squamous intraepithelial lesions (LSIL/HSIL) on Pap smear. Overall, >50% had cervical inflammatory reactions including STIs. Of the 43 women with a cervical biopsy, eight (8.4%) had CIN-1, five (5.3%) CIN-2, and two (2.1%) carcinoma in situ. All but one had HPV DNA detected (risk ratio: 11, 95% confidence interval: 3.3–34). By October 2011, 56 women had completed the 12-month follow-up and had been rescreened. No new cases of HPV infection/LSIL/HSIL were detected.
The high prevalence of HPV infection, STIs, and cervical lesions among women attending an ART clinic demonstrates a need for routine screening. Simple, one-stop screening strategies are needed. The optimal screening interval, especially when resources are limited, needs to be determined.
HIV/AIDS; HPV; women’s health; cervical cancer; operational research; India
The National Cervical Screening Program in Australia currently recommends that women aged 18–69 years are screened with conventional cytology every 2 years. Publicly funded HPV vaccination was introduced in 2007, and partly as a consequence, a renewal of the screening program that includes a review of screening recommendations has recently been announced. This study aimed to provide a baseline for such a review by quantifying screening program resource utilisation and costs in 2010.
A detailed model of current cervical screening practice in Australia was constructed and we used data from the Victorian Cervical Cytology Registry to model age-specific compliance with screening and follow-up. We applied model-derived rate estimates to the 2010 Australian female population to calculate costs and numbers of colposcopies, biopsies, treatments for precancer and cervical cancers in that year, assuming that the numbers of these procedures were not yet substantially impacted by vaccination.
The total cost of the screening program in 2010 (excluding administrative program overheads) was estimated to be A$194.8M. We estimated that a total of 1.7 million primary screening smears costing $96.7M were conducted, a further 188,900 smears costing $10.9M were conducted to follow-up low grade abnormalities, 70,900 colposcopy and 34,100 histological evaluations together costing $21.2M were conducted, and about 18,900 treatments for precancerous lesions were performed (including retreatments), associated with a cost of $45.5M for treatment and post-treatment follow-up. We also estimated that $20.5M was spent on work-up and treatment for approximately 761 women diagnosed with invasive cervical cancer. Overall, an estimated $23 was spent in 2010 for each adult woman in Australia on cervical screening program-related activities.
Approximately half of the total cost of the screening program is spent on delivery of primary screening tests; but the introduction of HPV vaccination, new technologies, increasing the interval and changing the age range of screening is expected to have a substantial impact on this expenditure, as well as having some impact on follow-up and management costs. These estimates provide a benchmark for future assessment of the impact of changes to screening program recommendations to the costs of cervical screening in Australia.
Cervical cancer is one of the ten most frequent cancers in Turkey. It is well known that cervical cancer morbidity and mortality could be significantly reduced with an active cervical smear screening (Pap smear) program.
The aims of this study were: 1) to evaluate the knowledge and attitudes of women about cervical smear testing; 2) to establish a cervical smear screening program and to evaluate the cervical cytological abnormalities that were found; 3) to determine the applicability, limitations and effectiveness of this screening in a primary health care unit.
Patients and Methods:
A total of 332 married women were included in our study. We collected data concerning socio-demographic and fertility characteristics, and knowledge about Pap smear testing was determined through printed questionnaires. A gynecological examination and Pap smear screening was performed on every woman in our study group.
Over ninety percent of our study group had never heard of and had not undergone Pap smear screening before. Of the 332 smears evaluated, 328 (98.8%) were accepted as normal, whereas epithelial cell anomalies were seen in 4 (1.2%), infection in 59 (17.7%), and reactive cell differences in 223 (67.2%) of the smears.
The frequency of epithelial cell anomalies in our study group was less than the frequencies reported from Western countries. Knowledge regarding cervical cancer and Pap smear screening was very low. Pap smears can be easily taken and evaluated through a chain built between the primary health care unit and laboratory, and this kind of screening intervention is easily accepted by the population served.
Cervical smear; cervical intraepithelial lesion; cervical cancer screening
The feasibility of using an age-sex register as a basis for a cervical cancer screening programme was investigated in a London practice serving both inner city and suburban populations. Only about 25% of 810 women aged 35-59 years who had not recently been screened responded to an invitation to attend a practice well woman clinic for a cervical smear. Nearly 30% of the invitations were returned `not known at this address' and there was no reply from the remaining 45%. A high proportion of incorrect addresses considerably reduces the effectiveness of a cancer screening programme based on an age-sex register covering an area with a mobile population and also makes it difficult to follow up women with abnormal smears adequately. Opportunistic screening remains essential and every effort should be made to encourage women to be responsible for their own cancer screening programmes.
Objective. A Socio-economic-political-cultural (SEPC) study was undertaken under the Roll Back Malaria (RBM) initiative to understand the process of programme implementation and how far in the changing malaria context, the broader environment has been understood and programme components have undergone changes. Material and Methods. Two studies were carried out; first in four villages under the primary health unit (PHU) Banavaralu in Tiptur Taluka in September 2002 and the second one in April 2003 in four villages in Chitradurga district, namely, Kappagere, Kellodu in Hosadurga Taluka, and Vani Vilas Puram and Kathrikenhally in Hiriyur Taluka. Focus group discussion and key interviews were adopted to collect the qualitative data. Results. Gender discrimination and lack of empowerment of women came out strongly in social analysis. In the rural elected bodies called Panchayats, the concept of health committees was not known. Health committees as one of the important statutory committees under every Panchayat were nonexistent in reality in these villages. Financial difficulties at Grama Panchayat level and also meager budget allocation for health have led to indifferent attitude of Panchayat members towards health. It was observed that there were generally no specific cultural practices in relation to malaria cure. Cultural and traditional practices in malaria-related issues were not predominant in the community except for some sporadic instances. Conclusion and Recommendation. SEPC study is an important indicator in malaria control programme. It is ultimately the community that takes the major decision directly or indirectly and the health authority must guide them in right direction.
Cancer of the cervix is the commonest genital tract malignancy in the female, and it has been ranked second to breast cancer. It has positive association with infection of human papillomavirus. Cervical cancer incidence and mortality have declined substantially in western countries following the introduction of screening programmes. This present study investigated the knowledge, attitude and practice of nurses in Lagos University Teaching Hospital (LUTH) towards cervical cancer screening as they are important health personnel that are suppose to educate women on the need for cervical cancer screening. The study is a descriptive cross-sectional survey of the knowledge, attitude and practice of 200 nurses in LUTH towards cervical cancer screening. The results obtained showed that 99% of the respondents were aware of cervical cancer and that 92% of the respondents were also aware of the causative organism of cervical cancer (human papillomavirus). Their major sources of information were through electronic media (43.9%) and health professionals (37.4%). Furthermore, the respondents were quiet aware of Pap smear (91%) as one of the screening techniques of cervical cancer and had good attitudes (89%) towards Pap smear, but most of them had never done it before. The study further revealed that majority of the respondents did not know colposcopy as one of the screening techniques for cervical cancer. Finally, it has been made known from this study that nurses have good knowledge of cervical cancer but have limited understanding of the types of cervical cancer screening techniques and poor disposition towards undergoing cervical cancer screening. It may thus be recommended that institutions should periodically organise seminars and training for health personnel especially the nurses which form a group of professionals that should give health education to women about cervical cancer. This training may be done as part of the orientation programme to newly employed staff.
Cervical cancer; Pap smear; Nurses; Screening techniques
Cervical cancer occurs more frequently among Vietnamese Americans than women of any other race/ethnicity. In addition, previous studies in California have documented low Papanicolaou (Pap) testing rates in Vietnamese communities. This study focused on health care system factors and physician characteristics associated with recent cervical cancer screening among Vietnamese women. A population-based survey was conducted in Seattle during 2002. In-person interviews were conducted by bilingual, bicultural female survey workers. The survey response rate was 82% and 518 women were included in the analysis. Seventy-four percent of the respondents reported having been screened for cervical cancer on at least one occasion, and 64% reported a Pap smear within the previous 2 years. Women with a regular doctor were more likely to have been recently screened than those without a regular doctor (OR = 2.33, 95% CI = 1.45–3.74). Among those with a regular doctor, having a male physician, receiving care at a private doctor’s office (rather than a community, hospital, or multi-specialty clinic), and concern about the cost of health care were independently associated with lower screening rates. Physician ethnicity was not associated with recent Pap smear receipt. The findings support targeted interventions for Vietnamese women without a regular physician and private doctors’ offices that serve Vietnamese Americans. The availability of low cost screening services should be publicized in Vietnamese communities.
cervical cancer; immigrants; Pap testing; Vietnamese
Breast and cervical cancers are the second and fourth leading causes of cancer death among Asian and Pacific Islander women. Despite screening exams that can detect these cancers early and increase survival, racial and ethnic populations continue to be disproportionately affected. This study examined the sources of information and their impacts on cancer screening compliance among native Hawaiians in Orange County, California. A community-based participatory research approach was used to conceive, design, implement, and analyze data. A relatively small proportion of the study's native Hawaiian women were compliant with recommended breast and cervical cancer screenings, and their screening rates were below the national Healthy People 2010 standards. Knowledge of screening procedures, seeking advice from a doctor, and obtaining information from internet medical sites were associated with higher rates of compliance with cancer-screening procedures.
Native Hawaiian; Breast cancer screening; Cervical cancer screening; Sources of information; Community-based participatory research
Cervical cancer screening is an effective method for reducing the incidence and mortality of cervical cancer, but the screening attendance rate in developing countries is far from satisfactory, especially in rural areas. Wufeng is a region of high cervical cancer incidence in China. This study aimed to investigate the issues that concern cervical cancer and screening and the factors that affect women’s willingness to undergo cervical cancer screening in the Wufeng area.
Participants and Methods
A cross-sectional survey of women was conducted to determine their knowledge about cervical cancer and screening, demographic characteristics and the barriers to screening.
Women who were willing to undergo screenings had higher knowledge levels. “Anxious feeling once the disease was diagnosed” (47.6%), “No symptoms/discomfort” (34.1%) and “Do not know the benefits of cervical cancer screening” (13.4%) were the top three reasons for refusing cervical cancer screening. Women who were younger than 45 years old or who had lower incomes, positive family histories of cancer, secondary or higher levels of education, higher levels of knowledge and fewer barriers to screening were more willing to participate in cervical cancer screenings than women without these characteristics.
Efforts are needed to increase women’s knowledge about cervical cancer, especially the screening methods, and to improve their perceptions of the screening process for early detection to reduce cervical cancer incidence and mortality rates.
There is paucity of information regarding time trends of weight status in children from rapidly developing economies like India. The aim of the study was to analyse the dynamics of growth and weight transitions in a cohort of school children from India.
A population of 25 228 children was selected using stratified random sampling method from schools in a contiguous area in Ernakulam District, Kerala, India. Weight and height were measured at two time points, one in 2003-04 and another in 2005-06. The paired data of 12 129 children aged 5-16 years were analysed for the study.
The mean interval between the two surveys was 2.02 ± 0.32 years. The percentage of underweight, normal weight, overweight and obese children in the year 2003-04 were 38.4%, 56.6%, 3.7%, and 1.3% respectively. The corresponding figures in year 2005-06 were 29.9%, 63.6%, 4.8% and 1.7% respectively. Among the underweight children, 34.8% migrated to normal weight status and 0.1% migrated to overweight status. Conversion of underweight to normal weight predominated in urban area and girls. Among the normal weight children, 8.6% migrated to underweight, 4.1% migrated to overweight and 0.4% migrated to obesity. Conversion of normal weight to overweight status predominated in urban area, private schools and boys. Conversion of normal weight to underweight predominated in rural area, government schools and boys. Among the overweight children, 26.7% migrated to normal weight status, 16.4% became obese and 56.9% retained their overweight status. Of the obese children, 6.2% improved to normal weight status, 25.3% improved to overweight status and 68.5% remained as obese in 2005-06. There was significant difference in trends between socio demographic subgroups regarding conversion of underweight status to normal weight as well as normal weight status to overweight.
The study population is experiencing rapid growth and nutritional transitions characterised by a decline in the underweight population coupled with an escalation of the overweight population. The heterogeneous nature of this transition appears to be due to differences in socio demographic factors.
Thyroid disorders are more commonly seen among females and the prevalence increases with age. There is no population data from India focusing on iodine levels and their correlations with thyroid volume and other factors in adult women.
This study was designed to establish the iodine status and its relation with various factors including thyroid volume measured by ultrasound among the females of Kerala.
Materials and Methods:
This was a cross sectional house to house survey among the females above 35 years of age in a randomly selected urban area in Cochin Corporation, Kerala State, India. Selected subjects were interviewed, examined and blood and urine tests were done. Thyroid volume was calculated using ultrasound.
Among the 508 subjects who participated in the checkup, 471 subjects were included for analysis. Mean age was 50.3 + 10.7 years and 53.2% were postmenopausal. A total of 98% of the subjects were using iodized salt and median urinary iodine excretion (UIE) was 162.6 mcg/l. UIE had negative correlation with age and systolic blood pressure (BP), but had no correlation with thyroid volume (TV), thyroid nodularity, free thyroxine 4 (FT4), thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH) or anti thyroid peroxidase (TPO) levels. Iodine deficiency was more commonly seen in subjects with hypertension and also among postmenopausal females.
This study showed that females > 35 years were iodine sufficient, though one third of the subjects had UIE levels less than the recommended level. Iodine levels had significant negative correlation with age and systolic BP and no correlation with thyroid volume or biochemical parameters. Iodine deficiency was significantly higher in subjects with new and known hypertension and this relation merits further evaluation.
India; iodine; thyroid
To describe how demographic characteristics and knowledge of cervical cancer influence screening acceptance among women living in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania.
Multistage cluster sampling was carried out in 45 randomly selected streets in Dar es Salaam. Women between the ages of 25–59 who lived in the sampled streets were invited to a cervical cancer screening; 804 women accepted and 313 rejected the invitation. Information on demographic characteristics and knowledge of cervical cancer were obtained through structured questionnaire interviews.
Women aged 35–44 and women aged 45–59 had increased ORs of 3.52 and 7.09, respectively, for accepting screening. Increased accepting rates were also found among single women (OR 2.43) and among women who had attended primary or secondary school (ORs of 1.81 and 1.94). Women who had 0–2 children were also more prone to accept screening in comparison with women who had five or more children (OR 3.21). Finally, knowledge of cervical cancer and awareness of the existing screening program were also associated with increased acceptance rates (ORs of 5.90 and 4.20).
There are identifiable subgroups where cervical cancer screening can be increased in Dar es Salaam. Special attention should be paid to women of low education and women of high parity. In addition, knowledge and awareness raising campaigns that goes hand in hand with culturally acceptable screening services will likely lead to an increased uptake of cervical cancer screening.
Cervical cancer; Screening acceptance; Demographic characteristics; Knowledge; Tanzania
Estimates of the percentage of women who have had Pap smears in Peru vary between 7% and 43%. This study explores what women know about cervical cancer and Pap smears, as well as their barriers to obtaining Pap smears. Focus group discussions (FGD) were conducted with a total of 177 women in four Peruvian cities. Discussions reveal that most women did not know what causes cervical cancer. Most women did not know the purpose of Pap smears, although knowledge about Pap smears was higher than knowledge about cervical cancer. Fear, embarrassment, and lack of knowledge were the main barriers identified for not getting Pap smears. Programs and policies aiming to increase Pap smear coverage must start by educating women on cervical cancer and its prevention in order to improve women's perceptions about the screening test and increase Pap smear seeking behaviors in the long term.