Luc van Gorp, Chair of Christelijke Mutualiteit (CM) had an epiphany when he heard Machteld Huber speak at a conference in 2016. She was articulating what he had been thinking for years, and those thoughts had finally been given a name: Positive Health! Physicians should be involved in caring for their patients from a different perspective, and concern themselves with how their treatment contributes to improving their patients’ health. In the mean time new initiatives e.g. by Eric Boydens from Doctors4Doctors - who initiated workshops and training around Positive Health – made that more and more doctors got inspired and involved looking for another way of working where they can put the patient more central.
Positive Health Belgium was launched in 2018 during the Christelijke Mutualiteit (CM) symposium 'Together for Positive Health'. For Belgium, the concept was started, primarily, from the need for health promotion on the part of the Belgian health insurance fund; Since 2022 an active network of Belgian early adaptors started and joined the project Resilient Communities with Positive Health.
In Belgium, it was decided to start with health consultants from CM health care fund, who would conduct Positive Health-style conversations. There are also more and more health initiatives and attention for prevention and Positive Health eg with 'Gezondheid in Beeld' or activities to stimulate health in the neighbourhood, such as 'Gezonde Buurt'. The implementation of the broad concept of health is progressing steadily, including the thinking about how hospitals could evolve into local health centres where citizens can go for advice. Luc van Gorp has successfully endeavoured to define health care policy on the basis of a broad vision of health, which was reflected in Belgium’s federal coalition agreement of 2020.
Primary care transition is in full swing, with primary care zones (https://www.eerstelijnszone.be/ ) being created, towards goal-oriented care (https://www.vivel.be/nl/doelgerichtezorg/). ‘Positive Health Belgium wants to create a network of professionals, organisations, welfare workers, policymakers, municipalities and health insurance funds, with a broad view on health. To help people feel connected to life and society. More and more physicians and other care professionals and social workers have also been trained by certified Positive Health trainers from Positive Health international.
The activities around 'Zorgzame buurten' are growing, and the resilient communities project where Zorgzaam Wilsele, with Geert Pint, Practice Valaar, with Peter Leysen, Katrien Bombeke and colleagues and Practice Arzo are working together on a manual with the lessons learned of Positive Health implementation.
See also the vision of Practice Valaar in this video.
Watch also the video of a group of Belgian early adaptors who went on an inspiration tour to visit 3 best practices in the Netherlands, and got inspired to bring the movement of Positive Health further in Belgium. An active role in this movement also comes from the Doctors4Doctors network, where Raymond Vandebeek has an important role. He fully understands the need for humanizing healthcare and the essence of Positive Health which contributes to empowerment of people towards more resilience and purpose in life.
Several versions of the spiderweb have been developed to apply Positive Health. In a variety of languages, the adult version is available for download in Dutch and French so that people can fill in the spider web themselves.