research

While Ghana’s overall fertility rate is declining, increases in female mobility and a growing number of women entering their reproductive years make migration and sexual and reproductive health (SRH) timely topics for study. The interactions between socioeconomic and health inequalities stemming from gender, social class, and ethnicity are increasingly apparent in Accra, where they result in specific SRH vulnerabilities for female migrants working as kayayei (female head porters). Sam's research, building on her Master’s thesis and her previous experiences in Ghana, seeks to understand how North-South female migration in Ghana influences migrants’ SRH knowledge, perceptions, and use of health services.

Based on gaps in the literature and stakeholder discussions in Ghana, Sam’s research addresses three primary questions:

  1. How have patterns of north-south female migration in Ghana changed over time?;
  2. What are the reasons that kayayei choose to use or not use SRH services?; and
  3. How does migration influence kayayei’s SRH knowledge, perceptions, and use of health services?

As a mixed-methods study, the project includes both quantitative and qualitative components. First, a secondary analysis of Ghana’s 2000 and 2010 Population and Housing Censuses describes the scale, type, and demographic structure (e.g. age, parity, ethnic group, religion) of contemporary female migration in Ghana. Second, a quantitative primary survey using respondent-driven sampling captures information on kayayei's migration histories, employment, recent illness/injury, relationships, SRH status, SRH knowledge, and use (or non-use) of SRH services. Finally, in-depth interviews with a subset of survey participants explore how migration influences perceptions, knowledge, and use of SRH services.