Baby-friendly status given to 6 hospitals

first_imgThe Public Health Ministry, in collaboration with the World Health Organisation (WHO) and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), on Monday continued its Baby-Friendly Initiative by accrediting six hospitals across the country.The hospitals which were accredited are: the West Demerara Regional Hospital, Davis Memorial Hospital, Mahaicony Cottage Hospital, Mahdia District Hospital, Lethem Regional Hospital and the Upper Demerara Hospital.Public Health Minister, Dr George Norton among representatives of the newly accredited baby-friendly hospitalsAmong the criteria necessary to attain baby-friendly status, hospitals are to have a written breastfeeding policy that is routinely communicated to all healthcare staff, they must inform all pregnant women about the benefits and management of breast feeding, and give newborn infants no food or drink other than breast milk unless medically indicated.The overall objective of the breastfeeding project, from its inception, was to improve the health of infants through the promotion, protection and support of breastfeeding, further aiming to ensure that there were baby-friendly hospitals in all the regions of Guyana.Speaking at the ceremony, Public Health Minister, Dr George Norton stressed the importance of breastfeeding.“The Ministry of Public Health, and, by extension, the Government of Guyana, recognises that breastfeeding is a unique process that provides ideal nutrition for infants and contributes to their growth and development. For this reason, the Food Policy Division of the Ministry has collaborated with the WHO and UNICEF, to implement the Baby-friendly Hospital Initiative (BFHI) here in Guyana,” he said.Dr Norton pointed out that in 1992, when the breastfeeding project was launched globally, “it was no coincidence that Guyana also had relatively high infant mortality and morbidity rates due to diarrheal diseases, acute respiratory tract infection and malnutrition.”The BFHI External Assessment was coordinated during the period February to March 2015, and 12 out of the 19 hospitals in the BFHI programme had signalled their readiness to be assessed to determine their BFHI status.“It is noteworthy that Guyana is the only country in the English-speaking Caribbean with hospitals accredited with the Baby-Friendly Hospital status. I wish to take this opportunity to thank all of those persons who worked tirelessly to ensure that the necessary criteria were met and to urge you to maintain baby-friendly status in those six hospitals,” the Public Health Minister said.In addition to the accreditation ceremony, a two-day follow-up workshop, which is in preparation for the next round of BFHI External Assessment, was also opened.last_img read more