Health Promotion Journal of Australia Health Promotion Journal of Australia Society
Journal of the Australian Health Promotion Association
RESEARCH ARTICLE

A survey of cervical screening among refugee and non-refugee African immigrant women in Brisbane, Australia

Judith A. Anaman A B , Ignacio Correa-Velez A and Julie King A
+ Author Affiliations
- Author Affiliations

A School of Public Health and Social Work, Queensland University of Technology, Victoria Park Road, Kelvin Grove, Qld 4059, Australia.

B Corresponding author. Email: judith.anaman@yahoo.com

Health Promotion Journal of Australia - https://doi.org/10.1071/HE16017
Submitted: 10 March 2016  Accepted: 31 August 2016   Published online: 31 October 2016

Abstract

Issue addressed: To compare the level of cervical screening uptake between refugee and non-refugee African immigrant women living in Brisbane, Australia, and examine factors associated with Pap smear testing.

Methods: Cross-sectional survey with a convenience sample of 254 women aged 21–62 years from 22 African countries (144 refugees, 110 non-refugees). Chi-square tests were used to compare the demographic and health-related characteristics between refugee and non-refugee women. Bivariate and multiple logistic regression analyses were used to assess the relationship between the outcome variable (Pap smear testing) and the independent variables.

Results: Two-thirds of women had used Pap smear services in Australia. Chi-square test analysis established that non-refugee women were significantly more likely to have used Pap smear services than refugee women (73.6% vs 61.8% respectively; P = 0.047). Immigration status, however, was not a significant predictor of cervical screening uptake in the multiple regression analyses. The significant predictors for screening uptake in these analyses were work arrangement, parity, healthcare visit, knowledge about Pap smear and perceived susceptibility to cervical cancer.

Conclusion: Most women relied on opportunistic screening after receiving invitation letters to screen or after visiting health professionals for antenatal or postnatal care.

So what?: The findings suggest that organised cervical screening programs are not reaching most African immigrant women living in Brisbane. It is incumbent on the public health sector, including healthcare professionals and settlement agencies working with African communities, to develop health promotion strategies that meaningfully engage African immigrant women, including those from refugee backgrounds, to enhance their knowledge about cervical cancer and screening practices.

Key words: cancer, sexually transmitted infections, women’s health.


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