Stronger together: Main Belgian associations launch the Zero Separation Coalition

Guest article by Michel Collart, Noah’s Ark Belgium.

Extra boost in May: Noah’s Ark Belgium convinced  partner associations VVOC, Cokoen and Odisee to promote Zero Separation.

Mid-May the coalition held the Zero Separation Tour Belgium featuring 3 conferences with Nils Bergman in 3 major NICUs (Antwerp, Leuven & Genk). Over 200 neonatal professionals attended the “Nurturescience a case for Zero Separation” conference.

Zero Separation Kangaroo Care tour Nils Bergmann Belgium

group photo zero separation event

In Leuven we had the chance to host Mrs. Bieke Verlinden representing the Minister of Health and Mr. Els Van Hoof (member of the parliament). After being impressed by the advocacy for Zero Separation they promised their full support for future challenges in terms of legislation and funding.

Photo from left to right: Ingrid Deroover (Head of neonatal nursing KULeuven), Kelly Janssens (Project Manager Developmental Care at Belgian Government), Hanne Steels (Assistant Health Manager City of Leuven), Els Van Hoof (member of Belgian parliament), Michel Collart & Laetitia van der Elst (Noah’s Ark Belgium); Anita Verhille (VVOC), Dr. Nils Bergman,  Pr. Gunnar Naulaers (Professor Neonatology KULeuven), Bieke Bollen (Psychologist Neonatology UZLeuven), Bieke Verlinden (Alderman of Wellbeing & Representing Belgian Minister of Health)



Zero Separation Run: The week after the Conference tour, the coalition went for a public awareness campaign in Brussels.

Zero Separation run Belgium participants

A team of 20 runners/walkers participated in the 20KM of Brussels event. Amongst 47000 athletes all the members made the arrival and ten of them broke the 2h00 mark. But the real challenge was to carry a little (14cm) puppet under a baby sling on their chest. Rain and showers could not spoil the enthusiasm nor the atmosphere. We sure raised the curiosity of the public who took the time to inquire and congratulate the teamwork and spirit.

In the meantime the buzz has been incredible on social media with thousands of posts and likes. And the buzz goes worldwide as many of the members of the parent network of EFCNI have shown interest to be part of the next Zero Separation Run. See you next year and why not dream of a team of +100 participants.


photo of trophygrou photo of participants of the run with Zero Separation tshirts

photo of participants of the run with puppet as baby on chest

Kirsten (VVOC) & Peter (Cokoen)

front runner Eddy

Front runner Eddy almost broke the 1h25 mark








photo of winners


Pictures & Graphics ©Noah’s Ark Belgium

Little puppets: King Jouet Group

Baby Slings: Kododo France

20KM results : City of Brussels