Mediated Health: Interrogating Health-Promotion Campaign Messages for Filipino Household Service Workers in Hong Kong


While the consequences of international labor migration on the health of temporary and low-skilled workers have gained programmatic attention, these are often overlooked in health media scholarship. Using both  a structural critique of health promotion (Nettleton & Bunton, 1995) and a culture-centered approach (Dutta, 2007), this article takes a closer look at the health campaign messages circulated by the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) which are directed at Filipino household service workers (FHSWs). Specifically, this article focuses on influenza- and avian influenza-related messages found in pamphlets, posters, and fact sheets. Textual analysis reveals four problematic assumptions made in these materials.First, health promotion campaign messages reinforce the taken-for-granted value of vaccination. Second, they assume that FHSWs have sufficient access to quality food and rest. Third, they assume that FHSWs have the resources to avail of the prescribed prevention services. Fourth, health-promotion campaign messages assume that FHSWs have adequate access to health care services. Instead of promoting an inclusive public health agenda, they may have further marginalized FHSWs in HKSAR.