The main goal of public health policy is to protect and promote population health. Therefore, understanding how healthy the Belgians are in general is crucial. Several research projects in Belgium focus on specific aspects of health and health determinants, but currently a holistic view lacks. In order to properly support evidence-based policy making, those project’s outcomes must be combined in an integrated view of the Belgian health status. Therefore, we have developed a dynamic tool for centralising information on key indicators of health and health determinants. The results have been published in the first-ever health status report for Belgium: www.healthybelgium.be.
The Belgian Health Status Project addresses the lack of an integrated view on the health status of the Belgian population. It provides health status information relevant for decision-makers, with focus on information useful for defining and/or evaluating health objectives.
Objectives and scope
The aim is not to make an exhaustive inventory of all available information, nor to replace existing topic-specific reports. Indeed, rather than being a pure description, significant facts are highlighted with the help of trends, ranking and benchmarking.
The scope of the health status project comprises information on health status (e.g., mortality, morbidity, disability, quality of life, summary measures of population health) and health determinants (e.g., health behaviours and socio-economic background). Information on health system performance is covered by the Health Systems Performance Assessment project. In the initial phase, only information sufficiently complete and valid are used. The focus will be on topics for which indicators are well studied and data are readily available. The scope will then be progressively expanded.
Information on the health status in Belgium is made available in two distinct, but interlinked ways – i.e., a dynamic health indicators website and a printable Health Status Report (HSR) (only available in Dutch or French).
In collaboration with the Belgian Health Care Knowledge Centre (KCE) and National Institute for Health and Disability Insurance (NIHDI), a common website is developed to present the results of the HSR, the Health System Performance Assessment (HSPA) report, and the NIHDI report on variations in medical practices. In the HSR, a selection of relevant health indicators is grouped into meaningful chapters (for instance mortality, morbidity, etc.). For each indicator, data are presented using dynamic visualizations and tables, with breakdowns according to relevant stratification levels (e.g., age, sex, and region). Summary fact sheets interpret the results, and provide links to the original data sources. A first version of the online HSR has been launched in February 2019. The website will be progressively developed, and regular updates are foreseen as new values become available. The online HSR will therefore provide a continuous view on the health status of the Belgian population.
The printable HSR provides a snapshot of the Health Status of the Belgian population in a given year. The report is based on the online fact sheets, and complemented with interpretive summaries and policy conclusions. The first version of the report has been released in February 2019.
In the media
Press release | 22/02/2019 | New! Belgian Health Status Report available online
Press release | 15/02/2022 | What is the health status of the Belgian population?