Undetected in Denmark: Many refugees not getting health checks

Infectious hepatitis, PTSD and tuberculosis among the diseases being brought in

A health check would help detect infectious diseases, chronic illnesses and psychological problems (photo: iStock) A health check would help detect infectious diseases, chronic illnesses and psychological problems (photo: iStock)
February 18th, 2016 12:17 pm| by Christian W
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Despite health check-ups being an obligatory part of the integration of refugees in Denmark, an alarming number are not checked by the municipalities.

A new report showed, for instance, that under half of the refugees and family-reunified individuals in Odense, Kolding, Vejle and Silkeborg municipalities had been checked by a doctor.

“If you have infectious hepatitis, there is a risk of permanent liver damage and cancer,” Palle Valentiner-Branth, the head of the VPD and MRSA group at the Department of Infectious Disease Epidemiology at the State Serum Institute (SSI), told DR Nyheder.

READ MORE: Few refugees in Denmark forced home during peace time

Loads of illness
According to SSI, approximately every fifth refugee coming from certain areas in Africa and Asia can have infectious hepatitis – an illness that is essential to diagnose early.

A health check-up is also necessary to discover if the refugees have other chronic illnesses and psychological problems.

About every fifth refugee displays signs of tuberculosis, about half lack vitamin D and a considerable proportion struggle with anaemia, metabolic diseases and trauma, like PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder).