On 20 January 2021, a parliamentary event titled Structural Heart Diseases and Ageing: Investing in Belgium's future today was organised. It saw the successful launch of a position paper bringing forward policy recommendations for Belgium to proactively solve the challenges associated with structural heart diseases (SHDs). The position paper was drafted in collaboration with a number of national organisations because they recognise that if action will not be taken soon, the societal and economic problems caused by SHDs will become insurmountable in the decades to come. The event was co-hosted by Members of the Federal Parliament (MP) Els Van Hoof (CD&V), Laurence Hennuy (Ecolo) and Gitta Vanpeborgh (SP.A). A regional representative, MP Freya Saeys (Open-VLD) was also in attendance to discuss how Flanders may contribute to the topic.
With over 30 key stakeholders attending the event, it saw a thorough review on the current status quo of SHDs in Belgium, wide-ranging support for the recommendations as well as discussions on how the implementation of these recommendations can be optimally approached.
The event raised important considerations based on the recommendations proposed by the position paper with additional suggestions identified during the discussions.
Speaking on behalf of her colleagues in the Federal Parliament, MP Vanpeborgh concluded the event by announcing that they will shortly start working on the development of a parliamentary resolution addressing structural heart diseases and their distressing impact on the elderly. They assured all participants that the discussions held during the event formed an important catalyst for the formation of the position paper ahead of the development of the federal parliamentary resolution.