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Background
The Centre for Operational Research in Public Health (CORPH) was established in 1991 as an initiative taken by the Flemish and French Communities to support the health policy-making process. The purpose of the CORPH is to optimize access to health information based on sources that already exist and/or still have to be created, which permits to measure and to follow up the health status of the Belgian population.
 
The principal objective of SPMA is to facilitate the use of vital statistical data for public health policy and scientific research.
 
The first version of SPMA (SPSS), designed in the early 1990s, ran under MSDOS with a Clipper® application. In 1996, a Visual Basic application (Windows environment) was developed to replace the outdated MSDOS application. Since January 2002, efforts have been made to make this software tool available through the Internet.

 

Data
The then Ministry of Social Affairs, Public Health and Environment (now: Federal Public Service Health, Food Chain Safety and Environment) provided the birth and mortality data for the period 1987 to 1990. Since 1991, the FPS Economy - Directorate-general Statistics and Economic Information (ex NIS) has been providing these data together with population data dating back to 1987. This institute centralises the mortality information coded by the Flemish and French Communities (International Classification of Disease-9 (ICD-9)). From the year 1998, ICD-10 is used. These data are grouped in SPMA by age, sex, nationality and district.
 
The mortality information is registered on the basis of residency (de jure information) instead of place of death (de facto information).
 
As far as mortality is concerned, only the initial cause of death is taken into account. The initial cause of death is definedin accordance with the encoding rules of the World Health Organization (WHO), as:
    1. the diseases or the injuries which are at the base of a reaction chain of morbidities that finally lead to death or
    2. the circumstances of the accident or the act of violence which have caused the fatal injury.

  

SAS Stored Process on SAS BI
SPMA functions as an interface between health survey data on the one hand and the Internet module of the statistical software package SAS on the other hand.
 
Dynamic Web pages and the SAS® Stored Process on SAS BI:
In the Dynamic Web page environment, the user completes a form in his or her browser with the necessary parameters for the task in hand. The programme is encoded in SAS language (SCL, macros or source code). The SAS System is activated and data entered by the user are converted from the HTML form into the SAS System. The results generated are returned so the browser can display them. It provides interactive access to SAS software functionality and data without having SAS software installed on the end user's computer. Output from the SAS software analysis can be converted to various formats that are supported by the user's web browser, such as HTML tables.