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Revista de Salud Pública

Print version ISSN 0124-0064


WIESNER-CEBALLOS, Carolina et al. Cervical cytology in Soacha, Colombia: social representation, barriers and motivation. Rev. salud pública [online]. 2006, vol.8, n.3, pp.185-196. ISSN 0124-0064.

Objective A social representation of the Pap smear is given in this article, as are the barriers against it and the motivation for practising it, aimed at adjusting preventative health services in a particular Colombian town. Methods A phenomenological, qualitative study was carried out, using focal groups and workshops for validating the results. A theoretical sample was designed to find differences according to age, heatlh system affiliation and dwelling place within the municipality in question. Atlas ti software was used for giving the analysis a narrative interpretation. Results The Pap smear is associated with infection and pre-cancer and cancer prevention. Cultural barriers, misinformation being spread by peers, a lack of social networks and the particularly poor quality of Colombian public health services were identified. Discussion Attempts to make the Pap smear as objective as possible were found to be satisfactory, even though no logical relationship was found between knowledge of the Pap smear and its practice. Older women have the social representation of risk implicit in an acute infection model. Lack of opportunity for a having a Pap smear appointment and delays in presenting the corresponding report have a negative impact on cancer control.

Keywords : Social representation; cytology; cervix uteri; health care quality assurance.

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