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Spending 0.41% of its gross national income (GNI) on official development assistance (ODA) in 2019, Belgium partners with 14 countries in Sub-Saharan Africa and in Middle East North Africa (MENA) regions. Health is a priority sector for the Belgian Development Cooperation, with access to universal health care as a guiding principle. Health systems strengthening is a major focus for health interventions, as is sexual and reproductive health and rights and combating HIV/AIDS.

Global mental health support

In 2018 Belgium organised a high-level event in New York to share best practices on psychosocial rehabilitation and the psychosocial well-being of children affected by armed conflict. Belgium has also supported UNICEF in providing psychosocial services to children affected living in refugee camps in Jordan, and provided institutional support in Rwanda, working to integrate mental health care in primary care. 

Queen Mathilde is an UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) Advocate with a focus on mental health. 

Strategy for global mental health

Belgium does not have a global mental health strategy.

Domestic mental health

Belgium’s mental health care system has undergone many reforms working towards deinstitutionalization.  For more information see WHO 2017 Mental Health Atlas Country Profile  and further resources in WHO MiNDbank

At the 2019 UN General Assembly High Level Meeting on Universal Health Coverage (UHC), Belgium mentioned mental health in their statement: “We strongly welcome the recognition of the integration of mental health, an integral part of UHC systems and dialogue and its parity with physical health. Belgium will continue to advocate for progress on mental health both nationally and internationally.”


Key stakeholders

Enable Development Agency implements development strategy 

The Directorate-General for Development Cooperation and Humanitarian Aid (DGD) leads on strategy

Key decision makers

Prime Minister: Alexander De Croo

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs, European Affairs and Foreign Trade and the Federal Cultural Institutions: Sophie Wilmès

Minister of Development Cooperation, in charge of Major Cities:  Minister Meryame Kitir

Financing global mental health

According to IHME data, from 2007-2019, Belgium contributed USD $35.5 million in development assistance to mental health (DAMH). This figure is only representative of government resources.


Global health overview

In 2017, 21% of bilateral ODA was allocated to social infrastructure and services (US $109 million to health, and US $96 to education). 

Belgium has made pledges and contributions the following to global initiatives:

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