Partnerships in health: A case study of a volunteer-municipal collaboration

Student thesis: Master thesis (including HD thesis)

  • Trine Tønners Nørgaard
  • Marie Theodorsen
  • Tina Beining Sigh
4. term, Public Health, Master (Master Programme)
A new government report encourages the Danish municipalities to join forces with civil society actors and the private sector in order to achieve local responsibility for the health goals by the means of a partnership strategy. The aim is to produce sustainable, long-term health solutions and – with that - more good years for the population.

Such a partnership is Folkenetværket, established in Aarhus as a common municipal volunteer program focusing on the lack of monitoring of patient- and citizen-oriented health prevention. From a public health science development point of view it is an interesting idea to involve volunteers, with regards to resource issues as well as local presence and long lasting efforts. Is it so easy though?

Based on the Aarhus example the purpose of this thesis is to analyze if municipal volunteer programs can help strengthen community-centred health care, thus extending the chances for the municipalities to meet their citizens’ health needs. To gain an understanding of the factors of importance to achieve a functioning cooperation between volunteers and authorities, qualitative research interviews are carried out with volunteers and health professionals from Folkenetværket as key informants.

The research interviews show some development potential in programs such as Folkenetværket. Both parties perceive their cooperation as positive, aware that together they create something unique of value for the participants, among those citizens in direct need of the program. Meanwhile, the case study responses also indicate that the different prerequisites for being part of the program combined with the approach to collaboration, influences the functionality of Folkenetværket. Societally, professionalization, thus instrumentalisation of voluntary work when recruiting volunteers to perform health care prevention tasks, can also have unintended consequences. From the development perspective, this knowledge produces a set of recommendations which under the right circumstances may pave the way for smoothly operating municipal volunteer programs.

However, to assess whether effective programs in the public health care prevention can help meet the governmental goals of sustainable health care solutions – or lead to more good years, more knowledge in this field seems needed. Key part of this information is how efforts such as Folkenetværket can be evaluated and its effect estimated in order to determine if such initiatives should be a priority in the public prevention strategies.
Publication date2 Jun 2014
Number of pages115
External collaboratorFolkesundhed Aarhus
Anonym Anonym Anonym
Information group
ID: 198433696