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Three more hospitals certified as baby-friendly

Tuesday, December 03, 2019

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KINGSTON, Jamaica — Three more hospitals in the public health system have been officially certified by the Ministry of Health and Wellness as 'Baby Friendly', under the ministry's National Baby Friendly Hospital Initiative (BFHI).

These are Lionel Town Hospital in Clarendon, Port Antonio Hospital, Portland and Port Maria Hospital, St Mary. There are now five baby-friendly public health facilities.

The other two are the Alexandria Community Hospital in St. Ann, which was certified in April 2018, and the Princess Margaret Hospital in St Thomas, which received certification in September 2015.

The initiative aims to give every baby the best start in life by creating a healthcare environment that supports breastfeeding. It provides a framework that enables mothers to acquire the skills they need to breastfeed exclusively for the first six months, followed by complementary foods and continued breastfeeding for two years and beyond.

In his address at the National BFHI certification ceremony and launch of the National Infant and Young Child Feeding Network today, at the Courtleigh Auditorium in New Kingston, Health and Wellness Minister, Dr Christopher Tufton, commended the nurses and staff of the certified institutions for their tireless work in meeting the standards of certification set out by the World Health Organization (WHO).

“The nurses and staff of these institutions work tirelessly for months, sometimes years to meet the standards of certification. The Ministry of Health and Wellness has charged our health facilities, which are the immediate and optimal service providers for prenatal and postpartum care, to manipulate their processes and aesthetics to make the facility baby-friendly, being guided by outlines stipulated by the World Health Organization,” the minister said.

The WHO guidelines provide a 10-step outlay to successful breastfeeding. Each step provides a list of criteria that have to be met by the facility.

The assessment process includes training of staff and mothers, a report on the training, followed by an interview with staff and mothers who receive care from the facility.

Dr Tufton said 14 other hospitals are currently working to join these five facilities as baby-friendly certified by the Ministry of Health and Wellness.


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