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Dan Med J. 2014 Sep;61(9):A4897.

Undocumented migrants have diverse health problems.

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Forskningscenter for Migration, Etnicitet og Sundhed, Institut for Folkesundhedsvidenskab, Ă˜ster Farimagsgade 5, 1014 Copenhagen K, Denmark.



In 2008, 1.9-3.8 million undocumented migrants lived in Europe. We aimed to strengthen the evidence base on undocumented migrants' health problems by describing characteristics of undocumented migrant patients in a Danish non-governmental organisation (NGO) health clinic.


All patient files from the period from 24 August 2011 to 28 January 2013 were included in the study. Patient contacts were systematically analysed for age, sex, country of origin, medical referrals, symptoms and diagnoses. Contacts were classified by patient complaints or symptoms based on the International Classification of Primary Care, 2nd Edition (ICPC-2).


A total of 830 patients (39.75% women and 60.25% men) visited the clinic, which led to a total of 2,088 visits and 1,384 ICPC-2 classifications. The patients seen had 94 different nationalities. The most common reasons for medical contact correspond well with the pattern seen in general practice and several chronic and severe cases were observed in the NGO clinic. Furthermore, a larger share of pregnant women presented (11.6%) compared with a Danish general practice (5.1%), and these were seen first in a late gestational age on average (16+ weeks).


Undocumented migrants presented with diverse health problems. Some patients presented with critical disease, and an alarming number of pregnant women did not seek medical care until a late stage, and they did not return for infant care after giving birth.


The study was funded by the Institute of Public Health, University of Copenhagen.


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[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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