Purpose: To describe barriers and facilitators of cervical screening practices among African immigrant women living in Brisbane, Australia.
Method: Nineteen African immigrant women (10 refugee and 9 non-refugee) were recruited using convenience sampling. The interviews were conducted with a semi-structured and open-ended questionnaire guide. All the interviews were audio recorded and transcribed verbatim. The data was manually analysed using interpretative thematic analysis. Thematic categories were identified and organised into coherent broader areas.
Results: Lack of knowledge about cervical cancer and Pap smear, the absence of warning signs, embarrassment, fear, concern about the gender of the service provider, lack of privacy, cultural and religious beliefs, and healthcare system factors were identified as barriers to screening. The results did not show any major differences between refugee and non-refugee women. Recommendation of the test by health professionals, provision of standardised information on the test, and preferences for female service providers were identified as facilitators of cervical screening.
Conclusion: There is a need to provide culturally appropriate approaches to cervical screening practices and to enhance cultural competence among health professionals to apply service delivery models that honour group cultures.