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On March 19, a proposal of a resolution was submitted to the Belgian Parliament in which the Parliament requested the Belgian Federal Government to establish an action plan to significantly improve the health literacy of Belgians.

 

The proposal, which was submitted by three MPs from three different parties, requests the Federal Government :

  1. to develop a health literacy strategy, both for citizens and for health care providers, with a particular focus on groups whose health literacy is very low, and including the formulation of a health target related to health literacy;
  2. to set up a working group on health literacy that brings together all actors involved together with experts from the health sector and from other sectors (health care providers, health insurance funds, experience experts, pharmaceutical industry ...) to collaborate in setting up a national strategy, to monitor and evaluate the implementation of the strategy, to identify possible obstacles and new challenges, to suggest solutions and adjustments when necessary, with the aim to achieve the health literacy target;
  3. to draw the attention of healthcare providers to the importance of health literacy using specific training, exchange of good practices, and other actions;
  4. to focus actions on health literacy not only on the transmission of knowledge, but to also work towards the development of other skills, such as communication, critical thinking, motivational and social support, and  coaching;
  5. to consider, upon the implementation of programs to enhance health literacy, the possibility to make learning more visual and more interactive, both for the education of individuals and for groups;
  6. to develop actions to promote health literacy starting from the needs of patients and groups patients with deficiencies in this area, and to align communication strategies on the skills and means available to these patients or groups of patients;
  7. to develop a health literacy index to  map the health literacy of the Belgian population, paying particular attention to more vulnerable groups.

In the background document for the resolution, explicit reference is made to the work on health literacy by members of the IUHPE Global Working Group on Health Literacy and to policy developments in other countries. A first discussion of the Proposal by the Parliament took place on May 29, 2018.