Manifesto release: building a healthier belgium through early detection of structural heart diseases

As we strive towards a stronger, healthier, and more equitable Belgium, the EU Structural Heart Disease Coalition (SHD Coalition) is excited to announce the release of our new manifesto, « Building a Healthier Belgium: Prioritising Early Detection of Structural Heart Diseases. » This crucial document calls on Belgian policymakers to establish a Belgian Cardiovascular Plan that prioritises early detection practices for structural heart diseases. 

Structural heart diseases (SHD) are conditions characterised by abnormalities in the heart’s valves, chambers, or muscles, leading to impaired heart function. While some forms of SHD are congenital, the majority are degenerative and primarily affect older adults. SHD can be both debilitating and fatal, with severe untreated cases having a worse prognosis than some cancers. In Belgium, SHD currently affects approximately 240,000 people, a number expected to rise to 420,000 by 2040 due to an aging population and the increase in chronic diseases. 

The manifesto highlights several key actions for federal and regional policymakers. At the federal level, it advocates for the development of a Belgian Cardiovascular Health Plan, with a strong focus on early detection of cardiovascular diseases that cannot be prevented. It also emphasises the need to relieve pressure on Belgium’s healthcare system by encouraging primary care providers to perform simple heart checks on elderly risk groups.  

Regionally, the manifesto calls for early detection and treatment of cardiovascular disease and structural heart disease to be prioritised in preventative and primary care policies. By implementing these measures, Belgium can address existing inequalities in detection and access to treatment, particularly for women and the elderly, ultimately improving cardiovascular health across the nation. 

Join us in our mission to build a healthier Belgium by supporting the early detection and treatment of structural heart diseases. Together, we can ensure a robust, equitable healthcare system for all. 

Read our Manifesto for Belgium here: Belgian SHD Manifesto