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Health is one of the so-called "personal" matters which have been transferred under the state reforms from the federal state to the Community. Thus the German-speaking Community, just like the other two communities of Belgium, is responsible in its area for health policy, with the exception of some areas that continue to fall in the area of responsibility of the federal state (matters such as hospital legislation, the State Office for the Disabled and Health Insurance LIKIV, vaccination regulations etc. continue to be governed uniformly for all at national level).
The German-speaking Community is responsible for:
- care policy within and outside care institutions (hospitals, retirement homes)
- health education and health promotion and
- preventive medicine (preventive actions)
In the health area, alongside the specialist medical and paramedical staff, numerous organisations and services work that have specific tasks and are subsidised to do this by the German-speaking Community. Here the Ministry of the DG is responsible for guiding, subsidising and inspecting these health services.
With regard to notifiable infectious diseases, the Ministry of the DG takes on the tasks that are comparable with those of the public health authorities in Germany: monitoring notifiable infectious diseases and ordering medical measures that may be necessary, for example in the case of meningitis, tuberculosis etc.
Furthermore, the Ministry plans and executes its own campaigns in terms of national health. The DG also subsidises building and equipping measures in the two hospitals in the German-speaking area as well as the emergency doctor service in Eupen and St. Vith.
There are a few examples of cross-sectorial cooperation in the German-speaking Community. For example, the Youth psychiatry of the hospital in St. Vith cooperates with an outreach team of social workers to reach out to young people. Another example would be Kaleido, the Center for Healthy Development of Children and Young People, that offers preventive health care in schools, in cooperation with youth information centres and outreach youth workers. Youth work in general aims to offer health-prevention and to promote health and well-being of young people.