Belgium has a long tradition in international support to health. The Institute of Tropical Medicine in Antwerp is a world-leading institute for research and training on medicine and healthcare in developing countries. There is a significant amount of expertise within Belgian academic institutions, NGOs and the public administration.
Belgium does not have one clear global health strategy unifying all actors working in this area. However, what characterizes the Belgian position in global health is its strong adherence to social justice, although this may change following Belgium's 2024 election. A focus on UHC and ‘health for all’ is linked with the national social protection model. Aiming to realize the universal right to access healthcare, one of the core focus areas of Belgian cooperation in health is health systems strengthening. HIV, TB, and malaria are priority diseases.
Belgium has made global health a key priority of its EU presidency in the first half of 2024 and will continue to prioritize this sector. Beyond 2024, Belgium’s prioritization of global health will depend on the future government’s priorities, however, it will likely continue to be emphasized.
In 2021, Belgium allocated a total of US$250 million, or 9% of ODA, to global health. Belgium ranked 16th amongst DAC donors for its funding to global health, and 25th amongst DAC donors for its funding to global health as a percentage of total ODA.
Belgium’s ODA funding to global health increased overall between 2017-2021, rising from US$235 million in 2017 to US$250 million in 2021. However, this increase was largely by COVID-19 control. Total health as a percentage of total ODA stayed relatively stable over the same period.
In 2021, Belgium provided US$144 million, or 57% of health ODA, as bilateral ODA. US$18 million, or 7%, was earmarked funding to multilaterals, and US$88 million, or 35%, was core funding to multilaterals.
In 2021, Belgium provided US$162 million in bilateral health ODA (including bilateral and earmarked for multilaterals).
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