Health Services in Denmark: Co-operation between different sectors?

Publikation: KonferencebidragKonferenceabstrakt til konferenceForskning


COST Lisbon meeting on the 3rd & 4th June, 2009

The role of NGOs & CSOs in the health care for migrants and ethnic minorities

Health Services in Denmark:

Co-operation between different sectors?

This paper proposes to throw light on some aspects of the NGOs providing health   services for the ethnic minorities, constituting about 9 % of the total population of 5.5 millions.   

The Danish Welfare State can be characterised as ‘universal’, providing high quality social care and benefits to all members of the society. Overall, the Danish healthcare system is based on a free access system with equity in access for all citizens, though in practice there can be unequal access for different groups.


The paper proposes to delineate a couple of good practices for the ethnic minority groups        provided by NGOs in co-operation with the Government namely Danish Red Cross & TTT (Transcultural Therapeutic Team).

The major NGO, Danish Red Cross is responsible for the asylum seekers healthcare in cooperation with the Danish Immigration Service, having drawn its own set of instructions, outlining asylum seekers’ medical rights. Thus asylum seekers do not have the same legal rights to medical care as Danish citizens in case of non-acute diseases, thereby in practice their access is limited. CSOs have been critical about Red Cross´s role in managing these rules rather restrictively and jeopardising Red Cross principles especially neutrality.


The establishment of some NGOs, within the psychosocial field, is partly related to undermining of trust in the medical profession’s ability to effectively manage health related risks, e.g. immigrant psychiatric patients´ experience of more enforced admittance  than the native Danish patients. However, NGOs are in a very limited number and mainly part of the local interventions and individual activities by the few health workers with a special interest in the migrant health. TTT is an illustration of providing psychosocial services to ethnic minority youth and their families based on combination of citizen volunteer work with partly state funding. This mental health NGO focuses on different categories of societal exclusion: ageism, sexism as well as racism experienced by migrants, involving the minorities both in planning and evaluation.


These practices justify my placing of Denmark in the middle position on a continuum on one end with “Top down” approach in Holland, marked by systematic, stratified and hierarchical organisation and on the other end “Bottom up” approach in the United Kingdom,  marked by grassroots orientation and rather chaotic situation organising programmes for dispersed groups (Watters and Ingleby, 2004).


Antal sider2
StatusUdgivet - 2009
BegivenhedThe role of NGOs & CSOs in the health care for migrants and ethnic minorities - COST, Portugal
Varighed: 3 jun. 20094 jun. 2009


KonferenceThe role of NGOs & CSOs in the health care for migrants and ethnic minorities

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