Interventions targeted at women to encourage the uptake of cervical screening

RHL practical aspects by Germar MJV


The use of invitation letters to promote uptake of cervical screening in primary health care clinics in under-resourced settings is not feasible because both funding and infrastructure are inadequate for such an intervention in most low-income countries. Likewise, the use of educational interventions, such as distribution of brochures, showing of audiovisual materials, or interpersonal contact, may not be feasible due to limited resources and lack of adequately trained manpower.


The use of invitation letters or educational interventions in a hospital-based facility targeting women for cervical screening may be feasible in countries where the health care system is adequately equipped to support such interventions.


At this level, an effective programme would be one that is adequately planned, taking into account the needs and resources of the country or region. It also needs to be adequately funded and managed efficiently (1, 2). A socioeconomically and culturally appropriate education campaign on cervical cancer and the benefits of cervical screening must be done using the native language or dialect of the women in the community. However, given that the majority of the population in some large/high-population developing countries lives in rural and remote areas, interventions found effective in developed countries such as invitation letters and educational intervention to promote uptake of cervical screening may not be applicable.

Sources of support: none

Acknowledgements: none


  • Miller AB. Quality assurance in screening strategies. Virus research 2002;89:295–299.
  • Miller AB, Nazeer S, Fonn S et al. Report on the Consensus Conference on Cervical Cancer Screening and Management. International journal of cancer 2000;86:440–447.

This document should be cited as: Germar MJV. Interventions targeted at women to encourage the uptake of cervical screening: RHL practical aspects (last revised: 7 October 2004). The WHO Reproductive Health Library; Geneva: World Health Organization.


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