Knowledge, attitudes and practices of cervical cancer screening among female students enrolled in higher education institutions in Cabo Verde

28 Mar 2024
Natalina Sousa Silva Rocha, Bicho M Clara, Lima Mendonça M Luz, Maria do Rosário Oliveira Martins

Cervical cancer (CC) is the fourth most common cancer among women in the world and the second in Africa. CC is the third most frequent cancer and the first cause of cancer-related death among women in Cabo Verde, with an estimated incidence of 17 cases per 100,000 women. The mortality rate is around 10.5% and represents one of the largest percentages of all types of cancer diagnosed in women in the country. The high mortality rate can be explained by the absence of a national screening programme and a lack of human and physical resources. This study aims to determine the level of knowledge, attitudes and practices on CC among undergraduate female students in Cabo Verde in 2020.

Methods: A descriptive cross-sectional study, using a self-administered structured questionnaire, was conducted in six higher education institutions (HEI) in Cabo Verde between November and December 2020. A total of 618 female undergraduate students were recruited using a simple random sampling technique. Descriptive statistical data analysis was used to report the results.

Results: The response rate was 96.6% (n = 618). Most of the participants, 90.6% (549), were single, with average age of 21.79 years (SD =±4). Although most of the participants had already heard about CC (94.6%), most students showed a low knowledge about this disease (86.2%). Moreover, only 9.1% reported having been screened for CC.

Conclusion: Most undergraduate female students enrolled in HEI in Cabo Verde have poor knowledge and unfavourable attitudes toward CC. The level of knowledge is quite unsatisfactory. Within this context, the implementation of health policies focused on human papillomavirus education, prevention strategies, and CC screening is crucial.

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