Return Migrants' Experience of Access to Care in Corrupt Healthcare Systems: The Bosnian Example

Line Neerup Handlos, Karen Fog Olwig, Ib Christian Bygbjerg, Marie Norredam

10 Citations (Scopus)


Equal and universal access to healthcare services is a core priority for a just health system. A key societal determinant seen to create inequality in access to healthcare is corruption in the healthcare system. How return migrants' access to healthcare is affected by corruption is largely unstudied, even though return migrants may be particularly vulnerable to problems related to corruption due to their period of absence from their country of origin. This article investigates how corruption in the healthcare sector affects access to healthcare for refugees who repatriated to Bosnia, a country with a high level of corruption, from Denmark, a country with a low level of corruption. The study is based on 18 semi-structured interviews with 33 refugees who returned after long-term residence in Denmark. We found that the returned refugees faced greater problems with corruption than was the case for those who had not left the country, as doctors considered them to be better endowed financially and therefore demanded larger bribes from them than they did from those who had remained in Bosnia. Moreover, during their stay abroad the returnees had lost the connections that could have helped them sidestep the corruption. Returned refugees are thus particularly vulnerable to the effects of corruption.

Original languageEnglish
Article number924
JournalInternational Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2016


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