Health is a priority sector for the Belgian Development Cooperation. In fact, some fifteen per cent of Belgian public development assistance is allocated to the health sector.

The universal right to health and healthcare is the principle that underlies Belgian Development Cooperation with regard to health. Belgium believes that developing an effective and sustainable healthcare system is the best way to ensure this right. Such a healthcare system must guarantee each and every individual quality healthcare. Adopting this approach contributes to the fight against poverty and to improving the quality of life of the population.

Belgian Cooperation must take into account the country’s priorities, the most favoured fields of action, the comparatives advantages of the other donors present in the partner country, and the comparative advantages of Belgium. The comparative advantages of Belgian Cooperation in the health sector include the sector-based approach of the Belgian school and social dialogue.

Belgian Cooperation’s nine lines of force in the health sector are:

A. Reinforcing the health sector through:

1. an international partnership that supports the healthcare system
2. democratic ownership by society as a whole
3. a broad, sector-wide approach based on a development plan
4. a sustainable financing system
5. a consistent commitment from Belgian aid channels

B. Reinforcing the healthcare system by

6. strengthening the human resources available for health
7. an integrated fight against specific and neglected diseases
8. ensuring universal access to quality healthcare
9. making essential pharmaceutical products available

Belgian public development aid will better monitor the quality of pharmaceutical products in developing countries

The Belgian Development Cooperation will better monitor the quality of pharmaceutical products in developing countries. For this purpose, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Development Cooperation Alexander De Croo signed, together with NGOs and other actors of the Belgian Official Development Aid (ODA), a declaration of commitment. About a fourth of medicines are estimated to be of bad quality in countries where the Belgian Development Cooperation is active. 

Policy notes

The policy note “The Right to Health and Healthcare” (2008) is used as a guideline by Belgian decision-makers, Development Cooperation attachés and all other parties concerned by the policy dialogue on health at local, national and international level.
 Read the note (PDF, 1.64 MB) +  addendum (PDF, 1.56 MB).

This note is complemented with a policy paper on Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights (2007) 
 Read the paper (PDF, 604.38 KB)
 Read the flyer (PDF, 2.95 MB)

And a "policy paper on “The Belgian contribution to the fight against HIV/AIDS worldwide” (2006)
 Read the paper (PDF, 346.31 KB)


Fact sheets