Mobile Phone Ownership and Use Among Women Screening for Cervical Cancer in a Community-Based Setting in Western Kenya: Observational Study.
BACKGROUND: Mobile phone ownership among women of reproductive age in western Kenya is not well described, and our understanding of its link with care-seeking behaviors is nascent. Understanding access to and use of mobile phones among this population as well as willingness to participate in mobile health interventions are important in improving and more effectively implementing mobile health strategies. OBJECTIVE: This study aims to describe patterns of mobile phone ownership and use among women attending cervical cancer screening and to identify key considerations for the use of SMS text message-guided linkage to treatment strategies and other programmatic implications for cervical cancer screening in Kenya. METHODS: This analysis was nested within a cluster randomized trial evaluating various strategies for human papillomavirus (HPV)-based cervical cancer screening and prevention in a rural area in western Kenya between February and November 2018. A total of 3299 women were surveyed at the time of screening and treatment. Questionnaires included items detailing demographics, health history, prior care-seeking behaviors, and patterns of mobile phone ownership and use. We used bivariate and multivariable log-binomial regression to analyze associations between independent variables and treatment uptake among women testing positive for high-risk HPV. RESULTS: Rates of mobile phone ownership (2351/3299, 71.26%) and reported daily use (2441/3299, 73.99%) were high among women. Most women (1953/3277, 59.59%) were comfortable receiving their screening results via SMS text messages, although the most commonly preferred method of notification was via phone calls. Higher levels of education (risk ratio 1.23, 95% CI 1.02-1.50), missing work to attend screening (risk ratio 1.29, 95% CI 1.10-1.52), and previous cervical cancer screening (risk ratio 1.27, 95% CI 1.05-1.55) were significantly associated with a higher risk of attending treatment after testing high-risk HPV-positive, although the rates of overall treatment uptake remained low (278/551, 50.5%) among this population. Those who shared a mobile phone with their partner or spouse were less likely to attend treatment than those who owned a phone (adjusted risk ratio 0.69, 95% CI 0.46-1.05). Treatment uptake did not vary significantly according to the type of notification method, which were SMS text message, phone call, or home visit. CONCLUSIONS: Although the rates of mobile phone ownership and use among women in western Kenya are high, we found that individual preferences for communication of messages about HPV results and treatment varied and that treatment rates were low across the entire cohort, with no difference by modality (SMS text message, phone call, or home visit). Therefore, although text-based results performed as well as phone calls and home visits, our findings highlight the need for more work to tailor communication about HPV results and support women as they navigate the follow-up process.
Stocks, J; Ibrahim, S; Park, L; Huchko, M
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