Healthcare-associated infections and antimicrobial resistance

Head of Service: 

Monitoring healthcare-associated infections and antibiotic resistance

In places where people with weaker health temporarily stay together, such as in hospitals or residential care facilities, healthcare-associated infections occur when they are inadvertently infected with a pathogen during their stay. It often concerns microorganisms that are resistant to antibiotics, making them difficult to combat. They can spread rapidly and cause life-threatening infections. In Belgium, Sciensano’s Healthcare-Associated Infections and Antibiotic Resistance Service (NSIH — National Surveillance of Infections in Healthcare Settings) monitors the evolution of these infections, as well as the bacteria involved  and the underlying protective and risk factors, such as hand hygiene and the excessive use of antimicrobial agents. 

We monitor antibiotic use as this remains the most important factor in influencing antibiotic resistance. Our department also provides assistance with the biennial national hand hygiene campaigns that measure hand hygiene compliance. We also collect specific quality indicators related to infection prevention and control

Since 2014, the service, in cooperation with the inspection services of the competent authorities, has been providing outbreak support to hospitals and other healthcare facilities that are struggling with difficult-to-treat microorganisms (multidrug resistant microorganisms or MDRO). 

The surveillance of healthcare-associated infections is conducted in different types of hospitals and chronic care facilities, as required by federal and regional laws and/or within the framework of European projects. On the one hand, our service makes standard definitions and automated reporting systems available to healthcare institutions. On the other hand we collect national reference data on the occurrence of healthcare-associated infections and antibiotic resistance in Belgium. This allows institutions to compare themselves with national data. The Belgian Antibiotic Policy Coordination Committee (BAPCOC), established in 1999, oversees these protocols and activities.

Legal framework

Belgian acute care hospitals are by Royal Decree (BS 27/0½015, Numac 2015024034, Art.56 §2 ) required to participate in surveillance projects around:

  • methicillin- resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA)
  • multidrug-resistant Gram-negative germs (such as Extended Spectrum Beta-Lactamase or ESBL, and Carbapenemase-producing Enterobacterales or CPE)
  • hospital-associated bloodstream infections (hospital-wide)
  • systemic use of antimicrobial agents
  • quality indicators for hospital hygiene.

They must also participate in at least 1 of the following 4 surveillance projects:

  • bloodstream infections and lung infections (pneumonia) on Intensive Care Units (ICU)
  • Clostridioides (Clostridium) difficile
  • surgical site infections (SSI)
  • or Vancomycin-resistant Enterococci (VRE). 

Recording health data as part of surveillance projects

Please consult this webpage for more information on registering your data in connection with surveillance projects. Registration instructions vary depending on the surveillance. You will also find more information about the registration software ‘Healthdata for Data Providers’ (HD4DP) and ‘NSIHwin’, and about, the data visualization platform of the project.

Contact information

General contact information

Scientific directorate of Epidemiology and public health
Healthcare-associated infections and antimicrobial resistance service
Rue Juliette Wytsman 14
B-1050 Brussels

+32 (0)2 642 51 11
+32 (0)2 642 54 10

Would you like more information about NSIH surveillances?

Contact us at or

Would you like to send us data via email?

You can do so at

Would you like to sign up as a contact person for a surveillance?

Please than complete the subscription form (File FR - File NL) in and send it to us by e-mail to More information can be found in the form itself. Always include your hospital’s NSIH-number when you have a question regarding your hospital’s data.


Boudewijn Catry
Head of service / General manager of the NSIH program

+32 (0)2 642 57 64


OST: Outbreak support team


Louise Vaes

Data processing, reporting and analysis



Administrative staff

Tadek Krzywania: +32 (0)2 642 50 37    

Nathalie Verhocht: +32 (0)2 642 57 37 


Consult the overview of our peer-reviewed publications in MEDLINE/PubMED

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