Highlighting strengths and resources that increase ownership of cervical cancer screening for Indigenous communities in Northern British Columbia: Community-driven approaches

Int J Gynaecol Obstet. 2021 Nov;155(2):211-219. doi: 10.1002/ijgo.13915. Epub 2021 Sep 17.


Objective: To examine the unique and diverse strengths held by rural and remote Indigenous communities in northern British Columbia, including multi-generational support systems in health and wellness, profound connections to the land, and strong cultural foundations, and harness these strengths, allowing communities to engage in innovative and empowering health and wellness programs.

Methods: Building on these pre-existing and fundamental strengths, an alternative option to cervical cancer screening was introduced to nine Carrier Sekani health centers located in northern interior British Columbia in response to disparities in screening rates. Introduced in 2019, CervixCheck uses a self-collection approach that is private, safe, convenient, and offered at local community health centers by trained and supportive health staff.

Results: Using a strengths-based and community directed and descriptive approach, the process was outlined for a successful and ongoing health screening opportunity that is put into the hands of community members within Indigenous communities in the region of northern British Columbia.

Conclusion: Through collaborative partnerships, in-person engagement sessions, and the utilization of pre-existing infrastructure and health and wellness teams, this project was successfully integrated into primary care centers using culturally safe and community-based approaches.

Keywords: Indigenous health; cervical cancer; community involvement; human papillomavirus; self-collected; strengths-based.

MeSH terms

  • British Columbia
  • Early Detection of Cancer
  • Female
  • Health Services, Indigenous*
  • Humans
  • Ownership
  • Uterine Cervical Neoplasms* / diagnosis
  • Uterine Cervical Neoplasms* / prevention & control