by Linda Straker
- Grenada adopted PAHO’s Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative
- Second regional hospital to be certified
Almost two years after launching Grenada’s Breastfeeding Policy, the country’s lone General Hospital was recently certified as a baby-friendly hospital by the Pan American Health Organisation (PAHO).
Health Minister Nickolas Steele said that the certification was awarded because of Grenada adopting PAHO’s Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative (BFHI). “This means that we are practising all the 10 steps to successful breastfeeding,” he said, making the announcement during the weekly post-cabinet briefing on Tuesday.
The Breastfeeding Policy is based on the 10 steps to successful breastfeeding and is a guide to be applied by all staff providing maternity and neonatal hospital services to pregnant women, mothers and their infants.
This policy forms one of the many activities for which PAHO provided financial and technical support. At the launch of the programme in 2017, it was announced that several activities will be undertaken and or enforced as a part of BFHI.
These included an assessment of breastfeeding practices in Grenada; training of health and non-health professionals to be certified to be breastfeeding trainers; the training of more than 200 staff in breastfeeding techniques, and developing brochures and posters to reinforce the importance of breastfeeding at both private and public health facilities.
The initiative was launched in 1991 by the World Health Organisation (WHO) and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), with the goal of protecting, promoting and supporting breastfeeding in facilities that provide maternity services.
The BFHI has been shown to increase rates of exclusive breastfeeding, to reduce the incidence of gastrointestinal disease and atopic eczema during the first year of life, and to improve children’s IQ and academic performance.
In 2013-2014, PAHO conducted a survey to assess the status of the initiative in PAHO’s Latin American and Caribbean member states. This report presents results from the survey and identifies specific challenges and opportunities for BFHI implementation in the Latin American and Caribbean Region.
Chief Medical Officer, Dr George Mitchell said that Grenada’s General Hospital is the second to be certified in the region. The first was Barbados.
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