203729 A Focus Group Analysis of the Sangoma's view of Cervical Cancer knowledge, attitudes and HPV vaccine acceptance in Johannesburg, SA

Monday, November 9, 2009

Jennifer Nelson , Epidemiology and Biostatistics Department, Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, OH
Shelley A. Francis, DrPH, MPH, CHES , College of Public Health, The Ohio State University, Columbus, OH
Joan Liverpool, EdD , Deskan Institute, Stone Mountain, GA
Roland J. Thorpe, PhD , Center for Health Disparities Solutions, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Baltimore, MD
Soji Shogun, MBBS , Dr. Soji Shogun's Clinic, Johannesburg, South Africa
Nokuthula Mofammere, CHW , Dr. Soji Shogun's Clinic, Johannesburg, South Africa
Sangomas are traditional healers that play an integral role in the health care of traditional Nguni society members in Southern Africa. This is true even in large cities like Johannesburg, where due to their intimate relationship with local women, incorporating Sangomas into women's health programs is integral when trying to prevent cervical cancer, even if these women also seek westernized care. This cancer, easily prevented by routine pap smears, still remains the leading cause of cancer related deaths among women in developing countries, and 1 out of 26 deaths in South Africa. In areas where community health workers or traditional healers are consulted, it is important to understand their stance and knowledge of disease and treatments in order to develop prevention messages for cervical cancer and other diseases. During November-December 2008, a pilot study exploring women's knowledge about STDs, cancer risk, vaccine acceptance, and maternal-child communication about STDs and cervical cancer was implemented. Over 75 women from Alexandra, a Black township in Johannesburg, were recruited. The study also recruited Sangomas and utilized focus groups to examine their understanding of cervical cancer, HPV and other STDs, the HPV vaccine, and treatment. Sangomas' perception of their role to inform women about cervical cancer and their interaction and cooperation with western medicine in care coordination and vaccination was also examined. Qualitative methods will be used to identify reoccurring patterns and themes. Recommendations for increasing access to care and formulating future women's health programming in South Africa, especially in undeserved areas, will be presented.

Learning Objectives:
Analyze and describe the role of traditional healers as community health workers in Johannesburg, South Africa. Evaluate the knowledge of Sangomas of HPV, Cervical Cancer and sexually transmitted diseases. Assess the role of Sangomas as community health workers working in cooperation with western medicine.

Keywords: Cervical Cancer, Community Health Promoters

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: Involvement in study implementation and data analysis
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.