Prevalence and Determinants of Cervical Cancer Awareness among Women of Reproductive Age: Evidence from Benin and Zimbabwe Population-Based Data
Cervical cancer is a prominently diagnosed form of cancer in several resource-constrained settings particularly within the sub-Saharan African region. Globally, Africa region has the highest incidence and mortality rates of cervical cancer. The high prevalence has been attributed to several factors including lack of awareness of the disease. The aim of this paper is to explore the prevalence and factors associated with awareness of cervical cancer among women of reproductive age in Republic of Benin and Zimbabwe, sub-Saharan Africa.
We used population-based cross-sectional data from Benin Demographic and Health Survey (BDHS) and Zimbabwe Demographic and Health Survey (ZDHS) respectively. BDHS 2017–18 and ZDHS - 2015 are the 5th and 6th rounds of the surveys respectively. About 15,928 and 9955 women aged 15–49 years were included in this study respectively. The awareness of cervical cancer among women of reproductive age in Benin and Zimbabwe was measured dichotomously; yes (if a woman heard of cervical cancer) vs. no (if a woman has not heard of cervical cancer). All significant variables from the bivariate analysis were included in the multivariable logistic regression model to calculate the adjusted odds ratios (AOR) with corresponding 95% confidence interval.
While majority (79.2%) of women from Zimbabwe have heard about cervical cancer, only about one-tenth (10.2%) of their Beninese counterparts have heard about the disease. Advanced maternal age, having formal education, use of internet, having professional/technical/managerial occupation significantly increased the odds of awareness of cervical cancer after adjusting for other confounders. However, in Benin, women who resided in the rural area and those of Islamic belief had 20% (AOR = 0.80; 95%CI: 0.64, 0.99) and 35% (AOR = 0.65; 95%CI: 0.50, 0.86) reduction in the odds of awareness of cervical cancer respectively, when compared with women from urban residence and Christianity. Results from the predictive marginal effects showed that, assuming the distribution of all factors remained the same among women, but every woman is an urban dweller, we would expect 11.0 and 81.0% level of awareness of cervical cancer; if every woman had higher education, we would expect 20.0 and 90% level of awareness of cervical cancer and if instead the distribution of other maternal factors were as observed and other covariates remained the same among women, but all women were in the richest household wealth quintile, we would expect about 11.0 and 83.0% level of awareness of cervical cancer, among women of reproductive age from Benin and Zimbabwe respectively.
The study has revealed that socio-demographical factors including geographical location and selected economic factors explained the inequality in distribution of women’s awareness on cervical cancer in both countries. Designing an effective population-based health education and promotion intervention programs on cervical cancer will be a great way forward to improving women’s awareness level on cervical cancer.