Perception of Cervical Cancer Screening Program among Healthcare Workers in a District of Sri Lanka: A Qualitative Study

  • K.C.M. Perera
  • H.T.C.S. Abeysena
  • N. Mapitigama


The aim of this study was to explore the perception of cervical cancer screening programs among healthcare workers in a district of Sri Lanka. Focus group discussion (FGD) sessions (n=4) and in-depth interviews (n=10) were used to collect data. Eight public health midwives (PHMM) were selected for one FGD session. Public health midwives for each focus group were selected from MOH areas according to their seniority and the sector of community representation. Key informants were selected among health care workers, who engaged in the cervical cancer screening program. A convenient sampling technique was used to select participants. Triangulation methodology was used to improve the quality of the information. Descriptive codes were identified as common themes and categories. Codes and categories were revised repeatedly until they gave an accurate representation of the data gathered. Finally, an amalgamated list of codes was developed with FGDs. In the last summary, results were prepared. The analysis was made by manual content. Majority of the participants were Sinhalese (n=41, 97.6%), Buddhist (n=39, n=92.9%) and over 40 years of age (n=31, n=73.8%). Some had >20 years of service in the field(n=14, n=33.3%).Some participants mentioned the low sensitivity of pap smears, unsatisfactory smears, and reporting delay as disadvantages of the pap smear screening method. Increase community awareness, supervision of Well Woman Clinic (WWC) activities, conduction of mobile clinics indicated as pathways to improve the coverage by participants. Healthcare workers expressed their positivity for HPV/DNA test as its high sensitivity, while the majority stated to improve the coverage by vaginal specimens. Increase community awareness, supervision of activities, conducting mobile clinics to cover hard to reach population, and providing mobile pap kits were mainly stated to improve the quality of the program. Healthcare workers in the Kalutara district were highly accepted the HPV/DNA new screening test for quality improvement and to increase the coverage of the program.Keywords Cervical cancer screening, healthcare workers, perceptions