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Policies of access to healthcare services for accompanied asylum-seeking children in the Nordic countries

Artikel i vetenskaplig tidskrift
Författare H Sandahl
ML Nørredam
A Hjern
Henry Ascher
S Smith Nielsen
Publicerad i Scandinavian Journal of Public Health
Volym 41
Nummer/häfte 6
Sidor 630-636
ISSN 1403-4948
Publiceringsår 2013
Publicerad vid
Sidor 630-636
Språk en
Ämnesord Access, asylum-seeking children, comparison, healthcare, mental health, Nordic, policy, refugee children, Scandinavia, screening
Ämneskategorier Samhällsmedicin

Sammanfattning

Aims: Asylum-seeking children constitute a vulnerable group with high prevalence and risk for mental health problems. The aim of this study was to compare policies of access to healthcare services, including physical examination and screening for mental health problems on arrival, for accompanied asylum-seeking children in the Nordic countries. Methods: This study was based on the national reports “Reception of refugee children in the Nordic countries” written by independent national experts for the Nordic Network for Research on Refugee Children, supplemented by information from relevant authorities. Results: In Sweden, Norway and Iceland, asylum-seeking children had access to healthcare services equal to children in the general population. On a policy level, Denmark imposed restrictions on non-acute hospitalisations and prolonged specialist treatments. Regarding health examinations, Sweden deviated from the Nordic pattern by not performing these systematically. In Denmark, Iceland, and some counties in Sweden, but not in Norway, screening for mental health problems was offered to asylum-seeking children. Conclusion: Access to healthcare services for asylum-seeking children differs in the Nordic countries; the consequences of these systematic differences for the individual asylum-seeking child are unknown. For asylum-seeking children, access to healthcare has to be considered in a wider context that includes the core conditions of being an asylum-seeker. A comparative study at policy level needs to be supplemented with empirical follow-up studies of the well-being of the study population to document potential consequences of policies in practice.

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