In WHO’s report ‘Health of migrants – the way forward’ from 2010, it is stated that ‘approaches to manage the health consequences of migration have not kept pace with growing challenges associated with the volume, speed, diversity and disparity of modern migration patterns, and do not sufficiently address the existing health inequities, nor determining factors of migrant health, including barriers to access health services’.1 Two recent Danish documents highlight these aspects in relation to the health-reception of migrants. A report from the Ministry of Social Affairs and Integration concludes that present health initiatives offered to newly arrived long-term documented migrants are not systematically harmonized and updated and do not cover all relevant migrant groups.2 This is likely to be the case in many other settings across Europe. Subsequently, a new Danish bill sets out to reform the current Danish health-reception model, using a more systematic approach based on a close cooperation between social and health sectors.3 With this development, we wish to initiate a European public health debate about how to assess and meet the health needs of newly arrived long-term documented migrants in European countries. Emanating from the ongoing debate in Denmark, we ask the questions: ‘Why’ should health-receptions be offered? ‘Whom’ should initiatives target? ‘What’ should initiatives include? And ‘How’ should initiatives be organized? We use the term health-reception, as we consider it the more inclusive as a concept, but it overlaps with the terms screening and health assessments in the literature.
European Journal of Public Health, 2013, Vol 23, Issue 5, p. 725-726