Belgian Health Care Knowledge Centre

[2020, a year in parentheses]

The year 2020 will forever be branded in everyone’s memory. For the Belgian and international scientific community, it will retain the bittersweet taste of a colossal challenge but also of a hitherto unseen willingness to pool efforts, at all levels, for the common good. In our country’s complex landscape, each institution defined (or redefined) its place by bringing its own piece to the enormous jigsaw puzzle that was unfolding before our eyes.

The Belgian Health Care Knowledge Centre (KCE) is not cut out for working in the spotlight of current affairs. It is a think-tank and expert appraisal body that works in the long term, its role being to provide politicians with tried and tested scientific data that can be used to underpin their decisions. But faced with the coronavirus, our expertise was requested to support the frontline strategic deliberations in the management of the crisis. We thus had to find a way of combining these urgent requests with our basic work, which is more vital than ever in anticipation of the day when our health system can resume its normal course. Our research programme was disrupted as a result.

A series of studies and clinical trials scheduled in the programme were successfully completed as planned, but others had to be postponed until 2021. Parallel to this, a new “COVID-19” research programme took shape as and when requests were made by our political authorities and our colleagues in other institutions. It is this patchwork result that is presented today in our annual report.

Before leaving you to peruse the report, we would once again like to pay tribute to the work of the entire team in conditions that were at times anything but easy. Indeed, since 13 March 2020 the KCE has abided by the official teleworking injunction and a year later, at the time of writing, we are all still confined in our homes. But nobody has thrown in the towel. We have found new ways of being together and of turning our institution into a living entity from within, as we wait to be able to go back to work at Boulevard du Jardin Botanique.