Model strategies to address barriers to cervical cancer treatment and palliative care among women in Zimbabwe: a public health approach

Oscar Tapera*, Greta Dreyer, Anna Mary Nyakabau, Webster Kadzatsa, Babill Stray-Pedersen, Stephen James Heinrich Hendricks

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Cervical cancer treatment and care remains limited in Zimbabwe despite the growing burden of the disease among women. This study was aimed at investigating strategies to address barriers in accessing treatment and care by women with cervical cancer in Harare, Zimbabwe. Methods: A qualitative inquiry was conducted to generate evidence for this study. Eighty-four (84) participants were purposively selected for interviews and participation in focus group discussions. The participants were selected from cervical cancer patients, caregivers of cervical cancer patients, health workers involved in the care of cervical cancer patients as well as relevant policy makers in the Ministry of Health and Child Care. Participants were selected in such as a way as to ensure different of characteristics to obtain diverse perspectives about the issues under study. Discussion and interview guides were used as data collection tools and discussions/interviews were audio-recorded, transcribed and translated into English. Inductive thematic analysis was conducted using Dedoose software. Results: Salient sub-themes that emerged in the study at the individual patient level were: provision of free or subsidized services, provision of transport to treating health facilities and provision of accommodation to patients undergoing treatment. At the societal level, the sub-themes were: strengthening of health education in communities and training of health workers and community engagement. Salient sub-themes from the national health system level were: establishment of more screening and treatment health facilities, increasing the capacities of existing facilities, decentralization of some services, building of multidisciplinary teams of health workers, development and rolling out of standardized guidelines and reformation of Acquired Immunodeficiency Virus (AIDS) levy into a fund that would finance priority disease areas. Conclusion: This study revealed some noteworthy strategies to improve access to cervical cancer treatment and care in low-income settings. Improved domestic investments in health systems and reforming health policies underpinned on strong political are recommended.

Original languageEnglish
Article number180
JournalBMC Women's Health
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2021


  • Barriers to access
  • Cervical cancer
  • Health policies
  • Palliative care
  • Qualitative inquiry
  • Strategies
  • Thematic analysis
  • Treatment
  • Zimbabwe


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