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The study explored the knowledge and service delivery skills of primary health care (PHC) workers to conduct cervical cancer screening programmes in Sango primary health centre in Sango town, Ado-Odo Ota, Ogun State in Nigeria.
Cervical cancer is the second most common cancer affecting women. The prevention and control services in Nigeria are provided mainly at post-primary health facilities. Authorities have advocated the integration of cervical cancer prevention into reproductive health services provided at PHC centres. The service delivery capabilities of PHC workers are critical for successful implementation of screening programmes.
Exploratory qualitative research design was used. Data were collected among 10 PHC workers who were purposively sampled at Sango PHC. Semi-structured interview guide with broad items and a checklist were used to assess participants’ cervical cancer screening knowledge and service delivery skills using visual inspection screening methods. Data were analysed thematically and triangulated.
A range of roles were represented in the interviews of the health care workers at the PHC studied. They had poor knowledge and skills about cervical cancer screening using visual inspection with acetic acid and visual inspection with Lugol’s iodine. Study participants perceived nurses as most equipped PHC workers to conduct screening at PHC level, followed by the community health officers. Participants reported no cervical cancer services at the centre and community. The findings provided useful insight that guided the training of primary health workers and the development of a community-based cervical cancer screening model for women in rural communities.
Nurses and other PHC workers should be trained on visual inspection screening method. This low-cost but effective methodology could be incorporated into their training curricula as a strategy for scaling up cervical cancer prevention programmes across Nigeria.
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