Sciensano & Summary measures of population health

Last updated on 24-5-2019 by Daisy Tysmans

One of Sciensano’s key objectives is to use existing data for a better understanding of the population’s health, and to proactively build tools for public health policy development and evaluation. Sciensano therefore drives the development and use of summary measures of population health to characterise population health and health inequalities in Belgium, and to support the country’s public health policy. 

Sciensano has been a major player in the development of the Global Activity Limitation Indicator (GALI), which is used to estimate Healthy Life Years, also known as Disability-Free Life Expectancy. The Healthy Life Years indicator is part of the core set of the European Structural Indicators, and is used in Belgium to measure and monitor population health and health inequalities.

Given the need for disease burden estimates to guide decision-making processes within the health sector, Sciensano leads a Belgian National Burden of Disease Study, BeBOD. This study builds a coherent framework that will allow for routinely quantifying the burden of disease in Belgium by calculating the Disability-Adjusted Life Years (DALY) indicator from regularly updated local data.

Sciensano regularly analyses the new data in the Belgian Mortality Registry and makes them available through an interactive web tool (Standardised Procedures for Mortality Analysis). It enables users to assemble custom tables and statistics. Health expectancy is one of the indicators accessible through this website.

In the framework of the Belgian National Burden of Disease Study, Sciensano organises training sessions and networking activities to promote common estimation methods. Our institute also collects the necessary data about the most important diseases to measure DALY in Belgium.

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