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Knowledge and Perception of Cervical Cancer – Research


Study design and setting

A cross-sectional study was conducted from May to June, 2015 among regular undergraduate female Debre Berhan University students. The university is found in Debre Berhan town which is 130 kilometer from Addis Ababa. The university has approximately 20,000 students pursuing regular and extension undergraduate and graduate studies. Of them 10,560 are regular undergraduate students.  Official university statistics show that 37.5% of the students are females and most of the undergraduate students living in university residential halls during the semester sessions. The University has two Institutes, eight colleges and 33 departments.

Study variables

The outcome variables were knowledge and perception of cervical cancer. Sociodemographic characteristics, reproductive history and sources of information were among the independent variables.

Sampling size calculation

The 584 sample size was calculated using single population proportion by open epi software considering the following assumptions; the number of female regular undergraduate students in the university =3,962, proportion of the university students who had knowledge on risk factors of  cervical cancer=50.6% (14), 95% confidence interval, 5% reliability,1.5 design effect and 10% non-response rate.

Sampling procedure

Two stage cluster sampling technique was used for the the first stage , of the twenty nine departments, nine departments were selected by using simple random sampling technique and the sample size was allocated proportionally to each selected departments, based on the number of students. In the second stage, the study participants were selected from each year of study and sections of the selected departments by simple random sampling technique using computer method proportionally to the number of students in each year of study and sections. A list of the students was obtained from each department.

Data collection procedure

A self-administered questionnaire containing open and closed ended questions was prepared initially in English after reviewing deferent literature then translated into Amharic by an expert and again retranslated to English. Before the actual data collection process, tool was pre tested on 27 female Public Health students of Debre Berhan University. Then necessary modifications were made according to the results of pretest study. Six data collectors were recruited to facilitate the data collection process and were trained for two days. During the data collection process, the data facilitators introduces themselves to the participants and handed over a letter from each college/department which asked for support of the data collection process and showed the ethical clearance.


Participant’s knowledge about cervical cancer was assessed by using a 20 points scale questions about the etiology, mode of transmission, symptoms, risk factors and prevention methods. A knowledge score was calculated for each participant based on the number of questions correctly answered in the knowledge section. A score of 1 was assigned to every correct answer and a score of zero to incorrect responses.

Knowledge questions was scored and pulled together and the mean score was computed to determine the overall knowledge of the participants. Participants scored above the mean were considered as having good knowledge and below average as having poor knowledge.

Statistical analysis

Data was entered into an Epi info 3.5.4 and imported to SPSS version 20 for analysis. Results were summarized using descriptive summary measures for continuous variables, frequency and percent for categorical variables. To identify the effect of independent variables on knowledge and perception of cervical cancer, both the bivariate method and the multivariate logistic regression techniques were used. Then variables with p value ≤ 0.2 in the bivariate analysis was included in the multiple logistic regressions. Odds ratio and 95% confidence interval was used to identify the presence and strength of association and level of significance at the 0.05.

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