Objective: The objective of this article is to investigate the link between migration and knowledge and use of birth control methods among female household members (of migrants) who stay behind in Afghanistan. Migrants can remit birth control information received in the destination country to non-migrants staying in the origin country, who may as a consequence adjust their health behaviour accordingly. The consequences of this interaction for knowledge and use are what we aim to test.
Study design: Population-based secondary analysis of cross-sectional data.
Methods: This study used cross-sectional data from the Afghan Mortality Survey (2010). Using ordinary least squares regression and propensity score matching, this research studies to what extent having a migrant in the household influences the knowledge and use of birth control among non-migrant Afghan women. Women who stay behind are defined in this research as those with a migrant household member who moved between 2005 and 2010.
Results: Results indicated that non-Pashtun women with a migrant household member showed greater knowledge of contraceptive methods using injectables, birth control pill and lactational amenorrhea method compared to those women without a migrant household member. Less knowledge of male sterilisation and emergency contraception is observed for all women (both Pashtun and non-Pashtun) with a migrant in their household on male sterilisation and emergency contraception compared to the women without a migrant in the household. In addition, we show that Pashtun women with a migrant in the household had lower levels of overall knowledge and were less likely to use birth control methods than women without a migrant household member.
Conclusion: In Afghanistan, given the proximity, religious similarity and sociocultural customs mainly men migrate either to Pakistan or Iran. The findings suggest that migrants in different destination countries transfer different information (or fail to successfully transfer information) about birth control methods to members of their transnational networks, compounding disparities in knowledge and use of birth control methods among women staying in the origin country. Migrants have the potential to be health-related development agents, but the health information migrants receive while abroad and remit back to their home countries varies by destination country context.
Keywords: Afghanistan; Family planning; Migration; Social remittances; Stay behind.
Copyright © 2018 The Royal Society for Public Health. Published by Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.