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Belgian health-related data in three international databases

DOI: 10.1186/0778-7367-69-6

Keywords: Belgium, databases, health status indicators, public health

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Abstract:

For the indicators present in the three databases, the availability of Belgian data and the source of these data were checked.The most important problem concerning the availability of Belgian health-related data in the three major international databases is the lack of recent data. Recent data are available for 27% of the indicators of the WHO-HFA database, 73% of the OECD Health Data, and for half of the Eurostat indicators. Especially recent data about health status (including mortality-based indicators) are lacking.Only the availability of the health-related data is studied in this article. The quality of the Belgian data is however also important to examine.The main problem concerning the availability of health data is the timeliness. One of the causes of this lack of (especially mortality) data is the reform of the Belgian State. Nowadays mortality data are provided by the communities. This results in a delay in the delivery of national mortality data. However several efforts are made to catch up.The aim of this report is to examine the availability of Belgian data in three existing international health databases: the World Health Organization (WHO) European Health for All Database (HFA-DB) [1], the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) Health Data 2009 [2], and EUROSTAT [3].Three questions were addressed:1) Are Belgian data available for each indicator?2) Are the available data up-to-date?3) Where should the data come from (national or international source)?For each indicator in the three databases, the availability was checked for all the years included in the dataset. If data were available for recent years (since 2006), the indicator was considered as 'available' and 'recent'. If data were available, but only up to and including 2005 or earlier, the indicator was considered as 'outdated'. If there were no Belgian data at all for an indicator, the indicator was considered 'not available'. The 'not available' and 'outdated' indicators

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