Research Article

Can health education increase uptake of cervical smear testing among Asian women?

BMJ 1991; 302 doi: (Published 06 April 1991) Cite this as: BMJ 1991;302:833
  1. B R McAvoy,
  2. R Raza
  1. Department of Community Health, University of Leicester.


    OBJECTIVES--To determine the effects of three different methods of providing health education on the uptake of cervical smear testing among Asian women, and to evaluate the acceptability of different health education materials. DESIGN--Prospective cohort study over one year of effects of written materials by post, personal visit to give written materials, and personal visit to show a video on the uptake of smear testing. Techniques included a personally administered questionnaire. SETTING--Leicester, a city with a large Asian population. SUBJECTS--737 randomly selected Asian women aged 18 to 52 who were not recorded on the central cytology laboratory's computer as ever having had a cervical smear test. 159 declined to participate or were not contactable. INTERVENTIONS--Women were randomised into four groups: visited and shown a video (263), visited and shown a leaflet and fact sheet (219), posted a leaflet and fact sheet (131), not contacted at all (124). MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES--Cervical smear test recorded on computer within four months after intervention. RESULTS--57 (37%, 26% of group) of the women visited and given leaflets and 80 (47%, 30% of group) shown the video attended for cervical smears. Only six (5%) of those who were not contacted and 14 (11%) of those sent leaflets had a smear test during the study. CONCLUSION--Health education interventions increased the uptake of cervical cytology among Asian women in Leicester who had never been tested. Personal visits were most effective irrespective of the health education materials used, but there was some evidence that home viewed videos may be particularly effective in one of the most hard to reach groups: Urdu speaking, Pakistani Moslems. Written translated materials sent by post were ineffective.