Communicative processes for health activism: the case of organizations working with filipina migrants in Japan

Jan Michael Alexandre C. Bernadas (Department of Communication, De La Salle University, Manila, The Philippines)
Carlos M. Piocos III (Department of Literature, De La Salle University, Manila, The Philippines)
Ron Bridget T. Vilog (Department of International Studies, De La Salle University, Manila, The Philippines)

International Journal of Human Rights in Healthcare

ISSN: 2056-4902

Publication date: 6 September 2019



Informed by health activism (Zoller, 2005), the purpose of this paper is to explore the communicative processes of organizations working with women migrants in countries of destination. In particular, it explored the definitions of and explanations for health of organizations, their solutions to disease and illness, as well as, the methods and tactics they use to communicate health.


It employed qualitative approach specifically in-depth interviews with leaders or core members of not-for-profit and faith-based organizations working with Filipina migrants in Japan. Field notes from participant observations in formal meetings and informal gatherings were likewise used as data sources.


While organizations also recognized physical and spiritual health, they placed strong emphasis on mental well-being. Other than translation service, pastoral care, and shelter, coordinating with other not-for-profit and faith-based organizations, international centers, and governments was solution for addressing illness and disease. Together with face-to-face, digital media were used as method and tactic to communicate within and outside organizations. It likewise found that the organizations included were inclusive such that they also worked with other Filipinos in Japan.


This paper contributed to migration health literature by discussing the central role of organizations for mental well-being activism, favorable consequences of coordination among organizations to promote access to quality healthcare and information and dual characterization of digital media for organizing publics. Overall, it is one of the few to explore the ways into which organizations communicatively challenge health structures in countries of destination.



This work was supported by The Sumitomo Foundation Grant for Japan-Related Research Projects (Grant No. 178509).


Bernadas, J., Piocos III, C. and Vilog, R. (2019), "Communicative processes for health activism: the case of organizations working with filipina migrants in Japan", International Journal of Human Rights in Healthcare, Vol. ahead-of-print No. ahead-of-print.

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