A total of 61 Filipino domestic workers died in Hong Kong last year and 75% of them died because of sickness.

Labor Attache Jalilo Dela Torre said at a gathering of friends and supporters calling for his retention on March 25 that the issue of “poor health” of many Filipino domestic workers in Hong Kong should be seen through the “context of their stressful working conditions,” hongkongnews.com reported.

Last year, Dela Torre launched a free medical check-up scheme for all domestic workers in Hong Kong and the results showed that many workers face varying degrees of illness.

Some 7.6% of the workers who sought medical assistance were diabetic, while 17% had hypertension, which is higher than the Philippine nation average.

The Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) said its data showed that Filipino workers are hospitalized in Hong Kong for a range of problems – 36% for suffering a stroke, 27% for cancer, 13% for tuberculosis or lung problems, 21% for mild depression, and 3% for bone fractures or spinal problems.

“The matter of the poor health of many of our workers should not be treated as an isolated issue. It has to be understood in the context of their stressful working conditions,” Dela Torre said.

Dela Torre is set to be reassigned to Saudi Arabia, but many Filipino workers in Hong Kong are keen for him to remain there.