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The Role of Healthcare Providers in Shared Decision Making for Cervical Cancer Prevention in Ghana

Updated: Apr 24

Juliet Bonnah, PA, Dr. Baffour Awuah, Dr. Michelle S. Williams


Background: Cervical cancer is currently the second leading cause of cancer death among women in Ghana. Several studies have identified healthcare providers as key stakeholders in cervical cancer prevention. There is limited data on the role healthcare providers in Ghana play in shared decision making for cervical cancer prevention. The purpose of the study is to explore healthcare providers’ practice of recommending cervical cancer screening and HPV vaccination to patients in Ghana.

Methods: In-depth interviews were conducted with healthcare providers (n=27) working at healthcare institutions in Ghana. Qualitative analysis was done using in-vivo coding and thematic content analysis. The PEN-3 model, and the SHARE approach were used as the theoretical framework for the study.

Results: Healthcare providers were the main source of cervical cancer information for their patients. However, several providers acknowledged that they have inadequate knowledge about cervical cancer. Several providers stated that they seek their patients’ opinion about cervical cancer when recommending cervical cancer prevention services to them. Most of the providers recommend cervical cancer prevention services when patients have suggestive symptoms. They address their patients’ concerns and fears about cervical cancer by educating and reassuring them. The cost of preventive services, lack of knowledge, cultural and religious beliefs, were identified as major factors that influence their patients’ health seeking behavior for cervical cancer prevention services.

Conclusion: In Ghana, healthcare providers play a significant role in cervical cancer prevention. Therefore, there is a need for training programs to empower providers in shared decision making, and in recommending cervical cancer prevention services to patients.


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