On Wednesday 15 June, the SHD Coalition organised an event in the Flemish Parliament with the goal of drawing attention to the lack of awareness and the importance of early detection related to SHDs in Flanders. Central to the event was a session during which MPs were given the opportunity to undergo a short heart screening performed by Coalition Steering Committee Member and cardiologist Prof. Dr. Christophe Dubois. Specifically, with this activity the event aimed to demonstrate to the MPs that heart auscultations can be performed quickly and very efficiently, and therefore could be well integrated into the standard care pathway of every Belgian citizen over 65 years of age.
The event was opened with an introductory speech by hostess and member of parliament Elke Sleurs (N-VA). After the speech, Prof Dubois, gave a short but comprehensive presentation on the facts of SHDs in Flanders and appropriate recommendations with a focus on early detection. The presentation was followed with a Q&A session during which parliamentarians asked questions about the presentation. The event continued with the main activity, which was a session where MPs were given the opportunity, without obligation, to undergo a short heart screening performed by Prof. Dubois.
More than 25 parliamentarians attended this important event and there was mutual discussion and request for more information on the topic after the event. Moreover, four MPs proactively tweeted about the event afterwards and highlighted its relevance. A strong commitment was expressed about the burden of structural heart disease, after listening to Prof. Dubois' presentation. The Flemish MPs seemed to have received the message well that awareness and early detection are keys to addressing this emerging epidemic.