A Pilot Study on Women's Health Education in Rural Guatemala: Impact on Beliefs and Behaviors

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A Pilot Study on Women's Health Education in Rural Guatemala: Impact on Beliefs and Behaviors

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Title: A Pilot Study on Women's Health Education in Rural Guatemala: Impact on Beliefs and Behaviors
Author: Messmer, Sarah Elizabeth ORCID  0000-0001-9509-3219
Citation: Messmer, Sarah Elizabeth. 2014. A Pilot Study on Women's Health Education in Rural Guatemala: Impact on Beliefs and Behaviors. Doctoral dissertation, Harvard Medical School.
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Abstract: Great disparities exist in women’s health outcomes in rural indigenous communities in Guatemala; indigenous women are less likely to utilize family planning and cervical cancer screening services. This pilot study assessed baseline women’s health knowledge and the effects of a comprehensive women’s health course on women’s health knowledge and behaviors. From February to November 2013, 61 participants in a seven-week language-appropriate women’s health curriculum were evaluated before and after the course using a 10-item knowledge assessment. Cervical cancer screening and contraceptive utilization rates were assessed by self-report before and after the course. Several women’s health knowledge deficits were noted: belief that contraception causes cancer, inability to name symptoms of STIs, lack of understanding of pap smears, and lack of familiarity with condoms. The average pre-test score was 54.6%; increasing to 83.7% on the post-test (p<0.0001). 79% had received a pap smear prior to the course; this increased to 92% at the post-test (p=0.013). 53% had utilized contraception prior to the course; at the time of the post-test the percentage was 54% (p=1). This study reveals important patterns in women’s health beliefs in rural Guatemala, and shows that a seven-week curriculum was effective in improving scores on a knowledge assessment.
Terms of Use: This article is made available under the terms and conditions applicable to Other Posted Material, as set forth at http://nrs.harvard.edu/urn-3:HUL.InstRepos:dash.current.terms-of-use#LAA
Citable link to this page: http://nrs.harvard.edu/urn-3:HUL.InstRepos:12407618
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