A doctor looks at an X-ray. Photo: iStock
A doctor looks at an X-ray. Photo: iStock

A senior official from the Philippine Consulate has become alarmed at cancer rates among domestic workers from her country in Hong Kong.

The Overseas Workers Welfare Administration of the Philippine Consulate General in Hong Kong plans to compile a database of domestic workers who have become ill in the city.

The idea started when Virsie Tamayao, the Welfare Attaché, was baffled after her office handled many medical cases involving cancer patients, the sunwebhk.com reported.

However, Tamayao could not provide exact figures due to a lack of statistics. At the end of June, a female worker suffering from cancer went home. At about the same time, a former domestic worker who had overstayed in Hong Kong for 10 years was taken to hospital in Kowloon with advanced-stage cancer.

Recently, long-time mission volunteer Violy Macatol went home after falling seriously ill with a rare type of blood cancer. Lily Jimenez, a political activist in Hong Kong for more than 20 years, also flew home after being diagnosed with late-stage bone cancer.

Tamayao, who had also been assigned to Abu Dhabi and South Korea,  said only in Hong Kong she had seen cancer so prevalent among domestic workers. She said she wanted to study people’s lifestyles, what they eat, their stress levels and working environment to compile a database.

She said the administration had been preparing its first-semester report on death statistics and hopefully, could make a comparative study on the causes.

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