COMPARATIVE STUDY
JOURNAL ARTICLE

Effect of a mobile unit on changes in knowledge and use of cervical cancer screening among rural Thai women

W Swaddiwudhipong, C Chaovakiratipong, P Nguntra, P Mahasakpan, P Lerdlukanavonge, S Koonchote
International Journal of Epidemiology 1995, 24 (3): 493-8
7672887

BACKGROUND: A large proportion of women in most developing countries, particularly in rural areas, have never had cervical cancer screening. This paper reports the effect of a cervical cancer screening programme using a mobile unit on changes in knowledge and use of Papanicolaou (Pap) smear screening among rural Thai women.

METHODS: Health education and collection of Pap smears were carried out by the mobile unit throughout the 54 rural villages in Mae Sot District, Tak Province, between January and February 1993. To determine the extent of changes, we compared the results of two interview surveys of women 18-65 years old in the villages selected by systematic sampling for each survey, first in January 1991 and then in January 1994.

RESULTS: A total of 1603 and 1369 women participated in each survey respectively. The proportion of women who knew of the Pap smear test increased from 20.8% in the first survey sample to 57.3% in the second survey sample. The proportion of those who had even been screened increased from 19.9% in the first survey sample to 58.1% in the second survey sample. These increases were observed solely among ever-married women and there were no significant changes among single women, most of whom remained unscreened. Of ever-married women, the magnitude of increase was highest in the age group 25-34 years, and declined with increasing age.

CONCLUSIONS: Greater efforts should be made to encourage the use of screening among the older women. The use of mobile units may be helpful for rapid achievement of higher screening coverage in rural areas, where existing screening services cannot effectively cover the female population at risk.

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