Open Access Open Badges Research article

Determinants of acceptance of cervical cancer screening in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania

Crispin Kahesa12, Susanne Kjaer3, Julius Mwaiselage2, Twalib Ngoma2, Britt Tersbol1, Myassa Dartell13 and Vibeke Rasch14*

Author Affiliations

1 Department of International Health, Immunology and Microbiology, University of Copenhagen, Copenhagen K, Denmark

2 Ocean Road Cancer Institute, Dar es Salaam, Tanzania

3 Department of Virus, Lifestyle and Genes, Institute of Cancer and Epidemiology, Danish Cancer Society Gynaecologic Clinic Rigshospitalet, University of Copenhagen, Copenhagen K, Denmark

4 Department of Gynaecology and Obstetrics, Odense University Hospital, Denmark

For all author emails, please log on.

BMC Public Health 2012, 12:1093  doi:10.1186/1471-2458-12-1093

Published: 19 December 2012



To describe how demographic characteristics and knowledge of cervical cancer influence screening acceptance among women living in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania.


Multistage cluster sampling was carried out in 45 randomly selected streets in Dar es Salaam. Women between the ages of 25–59 who lived in the sampled streets were invited to a cervical cancer screening; 804 women accepted and 313 rejected the invitation. Information on demographic characteristics and knowledge of cervical cancer were obtained through structured questionnaire interviews.


Women aged 35–44 and women aged 45–59 had increased ORs of 3.52 and 7.09, respectively, for accepting screening. Increased accepting rates were also found among single women (OR 2.43) and among women who had attended primary or secondary school (ORs of 1.81 and 1.94). Women who had 0–2 children were also more prone to accept screening in comparison with women who had five or more children (OR 3.21). Finally, knowledge of cervical cancer and awareness of the existing screening program were also associated with increased acceptance rates (ORs of 5.90 and 4.20).


There are identifiable subgroups where cervical cancer screening can be increased in Dar es Salaam. Special attention should be paid to women of low education and women of high parity. In addition, knowledge and awareness raising campaigns that goes hand in hand with culturally acceptable screening services will likely lead to an increased uptake of cervical cancer screening.

Cervical cancer; Screening acceptance; Demographic characteristics; Knowledge; Tanzania