Hong Kong as very well known is the administrative region of China located in the east of the Pearl River. This region shares its boundaries with Guangdong in the north and the South China Sea in the east, west, and south. There are two main ethnic minority groups identified in Hong Kong, the first is Filipinos and the second is Indonesians. Filipinos are the majority ethnic minority group and are almost 32.5 percent of all ethnic minority groups lives in Hong Kong. Filipinos are the native or original inhabitants of the Philippines. The number of these people is very large in Hong Kong which reaches approximately 130,000. Many of these people work as foreign domestic helpers in Hong Kong to earn for their daily needs. The eastern district of Hong Kong has resided the majority of Filipinos which are around 3.24 percent of the district’s population (Government of Hong Kong, 2016).
The social determinants of health can be defined as the condition which is directly linked to a person or population and impact their existence. These conditions include the place of birth and growth, life, workplace, and age. The social structures and economic systems are directly related to these to shape these conditions. Social determinants of health comprise social environments like income, education, and discrimination. The second is the physical environment which comprises of place ok living and the third is health services provided to these people (Centre for Disease Control and Prevention, 2019). All these factors impact the health and overall life of Filipinos in Hong Kong (Gao et al., 2014).
The majority of foreign domestic helpers working in Hong Kong have come from the Philippines which is around 204,000 in numbers. Mostly the Filipino domestic helpers working possess good education and better English understanding than other minority groups. The salary of a foreign domestic helper in Hong Kong is set by the Hong Kong Government which is currently about HK$4,630 per month and adjust annually (KL Home Care Limited, 2021). According to a report from a news agency of the Hong Kong government the authorities have arranged translation and production of more educational materials in the ethnic minorities' language to help them understand the services and their utilization (New. Gov. HK, 2019).
These services are offered by the Department of Health and are tried to enhance the health education on communicable diseases, mental health, and other non-communicable diseases (New. Gov. HK, 2019). According to the international labor organization the domestic workers including Filipinos facing various issues which include low salary, long work hours, and limited rest durations. Ethnic minority women who work as domestic workers are found to be vulnerable and susceptible to various risk factors of health. The ethnic minority people working in Hong Kong and other countries are at the risk of physical, sexual, and mental abuse (Hall et al., 2019).
Filipinos faced various health threats during their pre-migration, during migration, and after arrival to the destination nation. Health-related risk factors found in Filipinos include economic disadvantage, poor medical care, violence, and other traumas. Mental health problems are the major concern found in a high percentage of Filipino domestic workers. The cause associated to this includes the loneliness, worrying, and less time to sleep.
Filipino traditions have been influenced by Malaysian, Indian, Spanish, Chinese, and American cultures and beliefs. These people link the disease with the course of the life process and connect it to both natural and supernatural elements. Their belief and a key element of their health practice are that the flourishing of the human body and balancing of its heat and cold. According to Filipino women, exposure to cold at late night or the evening air makes people susceptible to cold, pneumonia, bronchitis, and shivers which destroys the health of a person. According to these people, the human body can be protected from these infections by safeguarding the body from supernatural elements. These supernatural elements include maintain social relationships, personal success, and mental health and are controlled by fatalistic elements with sleep as the sign of psychological wellness (Garabiles et al., 2017).
As discussed the Filipinos workers face mental issues as the major health problem a measure in the form of health promotion of mental health can be initiated among them educate and support them. Also, the belief of this group is quite spiritual and supernatural based which again demands a program that educates them about the reality of mental health and its importance and how to maintain that. Filipinos should be educated that mental health is linked to their social, emotional, and spiritual wellbeing. It provides a person the vitality important for an active healthy life, works efficiently to achieve goals, and respectfully integrating with others.
Mental health promotion can be said as a positive and effective approach that will involve the practice or policy which contributes to the enhancement of the capacity of good mental health among Filipinos. The program needs actions at the individual, community, and society level. The key benefits of good mental health include improved physical health, greater productivity at work, and improved relations. Filipinos can use the mental health approach of the Government of Hong Kong to get assistance and help to overcome the illness. For professional help, people can contact helpline number 2343-2255 for professional support (Government of Hong Kong, n.a.).
Women have an important role in building and managing a family. They are the bond that links all the members of the family. They take good care of children and other young and old members of the family. Working women have to face double pressure as they have to deal with both work and family. Around 40 percent of females participate in the labor force in Hong Kong. The increasing number of single-parent households was also reported which are headed by women who have to face a high burden on their shoulders. The commission has considered the needs of women at work and puts efforts to generate employment and tried to strengthen the support to children and family which will benefit females as well as males (The Commission on Poverty, n.a.).
According to a report on the physical fitness of the community around 50 percent of women of Hong Kong of middle age who have their age between 40 to 60 years were found to be overweight or obese. This data was about the double of young females between the age group of 20 to 39. The 25 percent of young ladies were found under this category of overweight. When the waist circumference was measured as another parameter for obesity it was collected as 80 centimeters in middle-aged women. It was found the middle age women were around 3 times of having obese than young females. It proved that physical fitness as the social determinant of health as obesity may lead to many other problems including cancer, diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, and many more (Healthy Exercise for All Campaign Leisure and Cultural Services Department, 2014).
The 2019 report from the government of Hong Kong clearly showed represented the data on men's and women's various parameters. First was the population which showed that population females increased more from 2009 to 2019 than males. Another data showed the difference in the percentage shred in the living domestic households between men and women. This was again showed that females share more burdens of domestic households than males. But the females found more enrolled in education programs which showed a high literacy rate in females. The percentage of males (68.5 percent) was reported higher in employment than females (50.8 percent) (Government of Hong Kong, 2019).
Women in Hong Kong facing various health-related risk factors which include sexual and reproductive health, females in Hong Kong have different health concerns at different stages of their lives. For example, the younger female may have to make them prepare for sexual life and need to get education about contraception. On the other hand, adult females have to preserve their fertility and need to educate about the measures taken before and after giving birth. The second leading health issue among females in Hong Kong is breast cancer; it is the most common and the third leading cancer cause in women in Hong Kong (Hong Kong Government, 2019; Healthy Exercise for All Campaign Leisure and Cultural Services Department, 2014).
It has impacted the lives of many. The women of Hong Kong do not have enough understanding and knowledge about the warning signs and symptoms of breast cancer due to a lack of health education on the issue. The next serious health risk is cervical cancer which also a common form of cancer in women. The fourth health risk includes osteoporosis. It has been seen that women generally lost their bone density after the age of 40 and hence increase the chances of bone fractures and pain. This is associated with decreased estrogen levels after menopause. The fifth risk is menopause which is supported by the Family Planning Association of Hong Kong. The last one is mental health issues due to stress (Hong Kong Government, 2019; Healthy Exercise for All Campaign Leisure and Cultural Services Department, 2014).
The first strategy can be adopted on the high breast cancer rates in women of Hong Kong. The program should be on breast cancer screening which includes active participation of women, classes, seminars, and competitions on the same. The information from this program can be used to identify the number of females who received breast cancer screening. Females who have not received the screening due to some hesitation or question in mind should be educated about the screening and its importance. One-on-one education should be adopted to improve the communication and proper delivery of the information to the person (Centre for Disease Control and Prevention, 2019b). The same strategy can be adopted for cervical cancer education and screening.
Women as discussed have to face health risks due to menopause. Females should be educated and empowered to make appropriate decisions related to their health. Empowerment in women will develop a sense of responsibility with the help of proper guidance, education, and support. They should be taught about utilizing the existing healthcare resources and engaging in active self-care. Most interventions for the problems during menopause include educational interventions, physical activities or physical exercise, improving the diet and taking the right nutrition intake, stress management. Other than these healthy behaviors, preventing, and managing other diseases like osteoporosis (Yazdkhasti et al., 2015).
As the report discussed that the Filipinos as the ethnic minority people living in Hong Kong and work as overseas domestic workers to fulfill their daily needs. They have migrated from the Philippines in the search of a better place and employment. During migration and after reaching a destination like Hong Kong they face severe health issues. These issues are physical as well as mental but the occurrence of psychological illness is reported more in them due to loneliness, high workload, and lack of sleep. A similar situation has been seen in the women of Hong Kong either from the Filipinos or from the original land of Hong Kong (Cheung et al., 2019).
They also face mental stress which ultimately creates a long-term effect on their brains. Another similarity between the Filipinos and the women of Hong Kong is that they both less economic status than the men of Hong Kong. The data which presented the percentage was on the survey done in 2019 (Government of Hong Kong, 2019). The difference which makes them dissimilar is the level of discrimination. The Hong Kong government may have laid down the policies for ethnic minorities but due to the barrier of discrimination, they are unable to take the benefit of those services (Cheung et al., 2019). These should be measures taken by the government to resolve such issues like they have taken the action in the form of the Family Planning Association of Hong Kong for women with menopause problems (Chan et al., 2021).
Centre for Disease Control and Prevention. (2019). NCHHSTP social determinants of health. https://www.cdc.gov/nchhstp/socialdeterminants/index.html
Centre for Disease Control and Prevention. (2019b). Workplace health promotion. https://www.cdc.gov/workplacehealthpromotion/health-strategies/breast-cancer/interventions/programs.html
Chan, B., Cheng, H.E., Lo, M.T., So, N., & Fan, S. (2021). Family planning in Hong Kong: An interview with Dr. Susan Fan. Hong Kong Med J, 27(1). https://www.hkmj.org/system/files/hkmj-v27n1-hc.pdf
Cheung, J.T.K., Tsoi, V.W.Y., Wong, K.H.K., & Chung, R.Y. (2019). Abuse and depression among Filipino foreign domestic helpers. A cross-sectional survey in Hong Kong. Public Health, 166, 121-127. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0033350618303093
Gao, X., Chan, C.W., Mak, S.L., Ng, Z., Kwong, W.H., & Kot, C.C.S. (2014). Oral health of foreign domestic workers: exploring the social determinants. Journal of Immigrant and Minority Health, 16(5), 926-933. https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007%2Fs10903-013-9789-5
Garabiles, M.R., Ofreneo, M.A.P., & Hall, B.J. (2017). Towards a model of resilience for transnational families of Filipina domestic workers. PloS One, 12(8), e0183703. https://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0183703
Government of Hong Kong. (2016). Ethnic minorities in Hong Kong. https://www.bycensus2016.gov.hk/en/Snapshot-10.html#:~:text=2.,%25)%20and%20Whites%20(10.0%25).
Government of Hong Kong. (2019). Hong Kong in women in figures 2019. https://www.women.gov.hk/download/research/HK_Women2019_e.pdf
Government of Hong Kong. (n.a.). Mental health. https://www.gov.hk/en/residents/health/mental/mentalhealth.htm
Hall, B.J., Garabiles, M.R. & Latkin, C.A. (2019). Work-life, relationship, and policy determinants of health and well-being among Filipino domestic workers in China: A qualitative study. BMC Public Health 19, 229. https://doi.org/10.1186/s12889-019-6552-4
Healthy Exercise for All Campaign Leisure and Cultural Services Department. (2014). Fitness exercise for women. https://www.lcsd.gov.hk/en/healthy/women/women1.html#:~:text=strong%20and%20healthy.-,Women's%20Health%20Concerns,and%20breast%20cancer%20(12.3%25).
Hong Kong Government. (2019). Women Health. https://www.gov.hk/en/residents/health/healthadvice/healthcare/womenhealth.htm
KL Home Care Limited. (2021). Domestic helper’s new information (2020 update). https://www.hlc.com.hk/en/domestic-helper.html
New. Gov. HK. (2019). More support for ethnic minorities. https://www.news.gov.hk/eng/2019/10/20191027/20191027_093632_116.html
The Commission on Poverty. (n.a.). 8 Other disadvantage groups. https://www.povertyrelief.gov.hk/archive/2007/eng/pdf/ReportCh8(e).pdf
Yazdkhasti, M., Simbar, M., & Abdi, F. (2015). Empowerment and coping strategies in menopause women: A review. Iranian Red Crescent Medical Journal, 17(3), e18944. https://doi.org/10.5812/ircmj.18944
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