Barriers to Cervical Screening among Pacific Women in a New Zealand Urban Population


Background: In Aotearoa/New Zealand cervical screening programmes have reduced cervical cancer;however, half of cervical cancer cases among Pacific women are found among clients who had not attendedcervical screening. Hence, we set out to determine health provider perspectives on barriers that prevent theirservices reaching Pacific women within Aotearoa/New Zealand. Materials and
Methods: Twenty semi-structuredinterviews were conducted with health care providers, Pap smear takers and community workers in the Wellingtonregion. Participants were asked their views on factors that enabled and/or constrained the participation of Pacificwomen in their cervical screening services.
Results: Six interrelated themes influencing participation in cervicalscreening among Pacific women in the Wellington region were apparent: the funding and practice of servicedelivery; family always coming first; the cost of screening services; type of employment; the appropriateness ofinformation; and attitudes to self and screening.
Conclusions: Determining specific ethnic group actual healthneeds and meeting them contributes to overall improvement in New Zealand’s health status. The results identifiedthe need for improvements to the delivery of screening services including adapting cervical screening services tothe requirements of Pacific women through more outreach services at alternate clinic hours; culturally appropriatepractitioners; the ability to take up opportunities for health checks and foster long-term relationships; as wellas appropriate monitoring and evaluation of approaches. Funding and reporting relationships also need to becompatible with the goal of improving outcomes for Pacific women. Further research into client voices for theirparticular needs to compliment the service provider perspective as well as minority groups is called for.