The 8th International Congress on AIDS in Asia and the Pacific (8th ICAAP), Colombo, 19-23 August 2007“HEALTH TESTING FOR MIGRANT DOMESTIC HELPERS WORKING IN HONG KONG” Authors: Dr. CHUNG Siu-Fung, Ms. FUNG, Elijah Mr. SHE, Kevin St. John’s Cathedral HIV Education Centre, Hong Kong 21 August 2007
- continued • At March 31, 2006, there were 225 846 foreign domestic workers working in Hong Kong. ⇨ 54% Filipinos ⇨ 42% Indonesians
OBJECTIVE OF THE STUDY • This research is focused on the “health testing” experiences of documented foreign domestic workers from the Philippines and Indonesia. • Data Collection: November 2006 to February 2007
⇘ Questionnaire surveys ⇘ Focused group discussions ⇘ answered by 108 Filipinos and 97 Indonesians ⇘ 8 focused group discussions with 34 migrant domestic helpers (22 Indonesians; 12 Filipinos) METHODOLOGY
⇘ In-depth interview with the NGO workers ⇘ Telephone interviews ⇘ Visit of employment agencies as potential employers ⇘ Visit of health testing clinics ⇘ 6 NGO workers were interviewed ⇘ 15 employers (10 employing Filipinos and 5 employing Indonesians ⇘ 2 employment agencies ⇘ 2 clinics (For one clinic, the investigator was the accompanying person with a real employer and a real foreign domestic workers. For another clinic, the investigator acted as an employer and a volunteer who is a foreign domestic worker act as the one who needed to be tested. - continued
RESULTS • THERE IS NO POLICY REQUIRING FOREIGN DOMESTIC WORKERS TO BE MEDICALLY EXAMINED IN HONG KONG. • ⇨ However, there are no government laws or policies that forbid employers or employment agents from requiring the migrant workers to have health testing in Hong Kong. • ⇨ e.g. 97% and 67% of foreign domestic workers came from Indonesia and the Philippine respectively had gone through health testing in Hong Kong. • ⇨ Government guidelines do, however, require that employers pay these fees, rather than transferring the cost to the foreign domestic worker, should a health test be requested by either party.
- continued 2. MOST RESPONDENTS REPORTED THAT THE SAME ITEMS TESTED IN THEIR HOME COUNTRIES WERE ALSO TESTED IN HONG KONG. • e.g. The requirement for retesting Filipinos mainly came from their employers (75%) • e.g. The requirement for retesting Indonesians came from the recruitment agencies (78%)
- continued • 3. LITTLE PRE OR POST TEST CONSELLING • E.g only 52% of Indonesian workers and 22% of Filipino workers surveyed reported that pre-test counselling was given. • Post-testing counselling was only given to 52% of the Indonesians, and 16% of Filipino workers by doctors.
- continued • “The procedure was very simple. There was no explanation. I would appreciate if more information about the medical test and the items involved are given”.(Indonesian volunteer) • “It will be helpful if some leaflets are in Indonesian language.”(Indonesian domestic worker) • “Several people were inside the room, including 3 medical staff and several local Chinese patients. They speak Cantonese. When it’s my turn, the doctor asked me simple questions and took my blood. There was no explanation. “ • (Migrant domestic helper who volunteered to take a health check up at a clinic)
- continued • “Some of them were nice, friendly but the doctor was rude. The doctor doesn’t like me because I am a domestic helper, and have dark skin”. (Indonesian domestic worker) • “The service is poor in Hong Kong. I was discriminated as a Filipino domestic helper. I was treated differently from the local by the medical staff. I was treated like a servant. The nurse was no good and her attitude was bad. The nurse was yelling at me”. “Filipino participant”
-continued • 4. TESTING RESULT e.g. most workers in the study were verbally informed that the results were “okay”. • “The medical terms cannot be easily understood. I want to see the report of my health check up”. (Indonesian domestic worker” • “The check up service was poor in Hong Kong. No result was given to me. I have the right to know the result of my testing.” (Filipino domestic worker)
CONCLUSION • ⇨A written report in English and Chinese to be sent directly to the migrant workers from the health testing clinic or doctors. As such, the employers cannot hide the unfavorable results from workers and dismiss him or her by other excuses. For the workers, they can bring the report to someone they trust to interpret the results for them if they cannot read English and Chinese. • ⇨The migrant workers should be given a chance to be retested by their own cost. • ⇨Migrant workers from different countries should be given the contact details of the NGO organizations that have workers speaking their language when they arrive Hong Kong.