Baby Friendly Hospital Initiative
An Investigation into the effect of the baby friendly hospital initiative on exclusive breastfeeding in a rural area
University of Natal
At the 1990 World Summit for Children, it was stated that more than a million infant deaths could have been avoided if infants had been exclusively breastfed for six months (UNICEF, 1995). Three of the four most important threats to survival of children in South Africa are diarrhoeal disease, acute respiratory infection, and malnutrition (UNICEF, 1993). Failure to breastfeed has been linked to all these health problems.
Although experts say that breastfeeding gives children the best start in life, protecting them from life-threatening diseases and providing essential nutrients, barely a third of all infants in developing countries are exclusively breastfed for the first six months.
Dr Libertina Amathila, Minister of Health and Social Services has launched the National Policy on Infant and Young Child Feeding in Windhoek.
The Gelukspan Hospital, near Mafikeng, has become the first health institution to be accredited the Baby Friendly Hospital Initiative (BFHI) status
The Gelukspan Hospital, near Mafikeng, has become the first health institution to be accredited the Baby Friendly Hospital Initiative (BFHI) status in the North West. Though situated in the poverty stricken area of Gelukspan, the provincial health department said the presence of a Kangaroo Mother Care Unit in the hospital was one of the key success factors in its accreditation. The Baby Friendly Initiative is an international programme of the World Health Organisation (WHO) and the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF), recognising hospitals and birth centres that have taken steps to provide an optimal environment for the promotion, protection and support for breastfeeding. South Africa adopted the programme in 1994, based on the WHO/UNICEF Ten Steps to Successful Breastfeeding, in response to declining breastfeeding rates, especially in sub-Saharan Africa. Among others, the steps include that the facility must have a written breastfeeding policy with staff trained to show mothers how to breastfeed, encourage the practice, give no food or drink to newborns other than breast milk and foster the establishment of support groups in this regard.If a hospital complies with the ten steps, it is then declared a BFHI. Dr Sefularo added that he was proud of the management, staff and the hospital board of Gelukspan Hospital. He also added that he hoped the hospital was an example to other hospitals and it would encourage other centers in the province to reach such heights. (Source: BuaNews (Pretoria 15 October, 2003)
Evaluating the effect of the implementation of the baby friendly hospital initiative on exclusive breastfeeding in rural community in KwaZulu Natal
At the 1990 World Summit for Children the international community set out a series of measurable and specific goals. They include halving the level of childhood malnutrition. In 1990 more than a million infant deaths could have been avoided if they had been exclusively breastfed for six months.
Evaluating the effect of the implementation of the baby friendly hospital initiative on exclusive breastfeeding in rural community in KZN: a report on the hospital side of the survey
There was a skewed emphasis on medical interventions in efforts to improve the health of South Africans, Health Minister Manto Tshabalala-Msimang said on Tuesday. Those advocating this approach overlooked the important contribution of other factors like proper nutrition, she told a ceremony at the George Masebe Hospital in Potgietersrus in the Northern Province. She said other forms of treatment, which were safe and effective in a resource constrained and underdeveloped environment like South Africa, were often discarded altogether. This included the treatment of opportunistic infections, provided at all public health institutions. She said diseases like tuberculosis, AIDS and cancer often lead to a loss of appetite, diarrhoea, excessive weight loss and consequently a further suppression of the immune system. Mortality rates were higher among malnourished patients. A healthy diet would improve one's general well-being, replace lost nutrients, and stimulate the immune system. The minister presented national guidelines which provide advice on how to support the immune system, what to eat or not eat under specific conditions, and how to cope with problems such as poor appetite, heartburn, diarrhoea, weight loss and constipation. The minister on Tuesday also inaugurated the George Masebe Hospital as a baby friendly hospital as part of her department's drive to improve maternity services. The initiative aims largely at boosting successful breastfeeding. For an institution to qualify as a baby friendly hospital, it should have a written policy on breastfeeding, inform all pregnant mothers of the benefits of breastfeeding, and teach new mothers the necessary skills. (Source: SAPA, 4 September 2001)