Filipino domestic workers gather in Central on Hong Kong Island. Photo: Asia Times

The Philippines’ Labor Attache has called on the Hong Kong government to make medical checks mandatory for migrant workers signing new contracts with local employers.

Labor Attache Jalilo dela Torre asked for the checks to be done after the release of the result of Project HealthWise, which showed a worrying increase in the number of Filipino workers contracting cancer or other serious ailments while working in Hong Kong, reported.

Project HealthWise, which Torre introduced in November last year, is a free basic medical check for all Filipino workers in Hong Kong.

Since the launch of the program, 1,441 Filipino migrants underwent blood glucose testing and 14% were found to be pre-diabetic, while 7.63% were confirmed diabetics. This, he said, was higher than the Philippine prevalence rate among adults of 6.2%.

Of 1,645 Filipino migrants who underwent blood pressure tests, 11.24% had elevated levels, 17% were hypertensive and 2.5% had critical levels and were advised to immediately seek treatment or go to a hospital.

Those who showed abnormal readings for protein, blood glucose and acetic acid had been put on a watchlist for further monitoring. The labor attache would like the Hong Kong government to make medical checks a requirement for all workers about to take up domestic employment there, whether as first-timers, returning workers, or re-contracts.

However, he said there is no concrete plan yet on how this could be enforced. “We are still pushing this agenda to the Hong Kong government,” he said.

The Singapore government has been enforcing such a rule for its imported labor for years.

Read: Free health checks for Filipino domestic workers in HK

Read: Free checkups reveal Filipino workers with hypertension

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