Health literacy: what lessons can be learned from the experiences of other countries?
This study was requested as a preliminary step to an eventual Belgian federal policy action plan. Such a plan is needed in Belgium, certainly as health literacy is a crucial determinant for health and has a critical impact in health inequalities, and as the long-term vision note on sustainable development adopted by the federal government (2013) states that the Belgian health system must contribute to “improving the health status of citizens” and to “reducing health inequalities”. The present report is the result of an international comparison of the HL policies of six countries selected for their relevance in the field of HL action and/or because their political situation gives an interesting perspective in relation to the political context of Belgium. The resulting recommendations are intended only to create the necessary conditions for the development of an action plan (capacity building), but remain very preliminary steps. They deliberately remain general in nature because their purpose is limited to giving a vision of the paths that could be followed.