Kozeta Filipi1, Alban Ylli1,2, Lila Shundi1, Albana Fico1,2, Bajram Dedja1, Besjan Elezaj1
1 Institute of Public Health, Tirana, Albania;
2 Faculty of Medicine, University of Medicine, Tirana, Albania.
Aim: Vaginal cell self-sampling can improve screening coverage to increase participations. Information on common reasons for low screening coverage and preferences for future screening are essential to reduce cervical cancer incidence. We aimed to evaluate the knowledge about human papillomavirus (HPV) and screening cervical cancer of Albanian women.
Methods: We gathered information from 200 women that resulted HPV positive by screening, using one structured questionnaires. In Survey, we collected information about knowledge, the acceptance and confidence towards vaginal HPV self-sampling, and satisfaction about it, compared data urban rural, and difference self sample collection with sampling collected by physician or nurse.
Results: The 80% of Albanian women are aware about screening cervical cancer and the Albanian Cervical Cancer Program offered the first possibility to screen for HPV infection for free. Both physician and the nurse of the health center where equally involved in inviting and counseling women for screening. 33% in the sample reported to have asked the physician to help them with it. About 67% of women found self-sampling collection easier to perform compared to 33% physician sampling, where 63% of them were in rural area (The chi-square statistic is 5.6281. The p-value is .017. Significant at p<.05.However, in urban areas women preferred self-sampling. The overall rating of the service at primary health care centre, by women who have used it, is ‘good’ or ‘very good’ at 81%. Among the women who decided to take the sample themselves, the majority, or 54% of them, used the health centre toilet room for the procedure. The majority of women found the vaginal sampling procedure very simple (60%) and not at all painful (72%).
Conclusions: There was greater acceptance of the vaginal HPV self-sampling in all areas, with higher participation of women kept greater confidence in the screening performed by HPV self-sampling improved coverage rate in Albania.
Keywords: Albania, cervical cancer, HPV, screening.