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Title: A discursive paper on the importance of health literacy among foreign domestic workers during outbreaks of communicable diseases
Author(s): Smith, Graeme Drummond 
Author(s): Ho, K. H. M.
Issue Date: 2020
Publisher: Wiley
Journal: Journal of Clinical Nursing 
Volume: 29
Issue: 23-24
Start page: 4827
End page: 4833
Using an integrated model of health literacy, we discuss the importance of health literacy among foreign domestic workers in the provision of informal caregiving during outbreaks of communicable diseases. COVID-19 pandemic is used as an example.

Adequate health literacy in the population is known to be important for the prevention of communicable diseases. Foreign domestic workers, a group of marginalised caregivers in private households, are generally presumed to have limited health literacy because of numerous socio-cultural disadvantages. To date, there is limited evidence that these informal healthcare providers receive support from community-based nurses.

A discursive paper.

Foreign domestic workers, with varying levels of health literacy, may be viewed either as a resource to break the chain of infection or as a potential reservoir of communicable diseases in the community. Meanwhile, restrictions imposed in response to diseases transmissions (e.g. stay-at-home measures for COVID-19) may directly exacerbate the social support received by these foreign domestic works and their ability to access health-related information. There are also concerns about their ability to appraise and evaluate information related to communicable diseases at a time when fake news and misinformation are being disseminated through social media. Language and cultural barriers are important issues that need to be addressed to ensure that foreign domestic workers are in a position to follow public health recommendations.

Relevance to clinical practice
Nurses hold an important position in empowering foreign domestic workers with adequate health literacy, by engaging groups of foreign domestic workers in the community and their consulates in planning educational programmes and effectively disseminating information. At a time of global pandemic, an assessment of the health literacy levels of foreign domestic workers in places like Hong Kong is urgently required.
DOI: 10.1111/jocn.15495
CIHE Affiliated Publication: Yes
Appears in Collections:HS Publication

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