Perception, attitude and practices of women towards pelvic examination and Pap smear in Jamaica

N Am J Med Sci. 2010 Oct;2(10):478-86. doi: 10.4297/najms.2010.2478.


Background: Studies have shown that women's ability to access contraceptive methods depend on their socio-economic, educational, professional status, and the health and well-being of their families and themselves. Therefore, the embarking of the Governments of the Caribbean on important initiatives relating to gynecological matters is very important and timely.

Aims: This study aims to examine the perception, attitude and practice of Jamaican women towards the matter of pelvic examination.

Patients and methods: The current study used an extracted sample of 7,168 women in their reproductive years (15-49 yrs) from a study which was undertaken by the National Family Planning Board in 2002 on Reproductive Health. Data was analyzed using SPSS for Windows, Version 16.0 (SPSS Inc.; Chicago, Ill. USA). Logistic regression was used to analyze factors/variables pertaining to Pelvic examination.

Results: The findings revealed that older women are more likely to have done a Pelvic examination compared to younger women (χ(2) = 675.29, P < 0.001). Age, number of pregnancies that resulted in miscarriages, number of pregnancies that resulted in induced abortion, age of first sexual intercourse, number of years of schooling, area of residence and socio-economic class are statistically significant factors of Pelvic examinations in Jamaica. Therefore, the model had significant predictive power where (χ(2) = 1022.79, P < 0.001).

Conclusion: The multidimensional nature of the variables, which emerged in the current study, indicate that a multisectoral approach should be used to address low pelvic and Pap smear examination among Jamaican women.

Keywords: Jamaica; Miscarriages; contraception; papanicolaou smear (Pap smear); pelvic examination; pregnancy.