Baby-friendly status upgrade for Mandeville Hospital

Fathe and baby
Father and baby (Photo credit: Nappy)

The Mandeville Regional Hospital is now an internationally-certified Baby Friendly Hospital (BFH). This recent certification is inspired by a global campaign that prepares healthcare facilities and workers to protect, promote and support breastfeeding. It benefits mothers as they will be trained to breastfeed their babies, exclusively, for the first six months, followed by using complementary foods and continued breastfeeding for two years and beyond. A baby-friendly healthcare facility also assists mothers who are not breastfeeding to make informed decisions about the care of their babies.


Director of the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO), Dr Carissa Etienne, during the ceremony to celebrate the certification held on Tuesday 23 August, indicated that the hospital’s milestone is not easy to attain. “I hope that this team approach also materialises in the rest of the work that you have to do,” the Director added.

She congratulated the government for continued investments in the health sector, noting that some countries have made budgetary cutbacks in this area. “I continue to see the commitment of Minister Tufton and the Minister of Finance, to invest in health,” she said.

Another partner in the initiative is the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF). The organisation’s representative in Jamaica, Mariko Kagoshima, said the accreditation is hugely significant and means that the hospital, “has met international standards and has created a healthcare environment that prioritises our children.”

For Minister of Health and Wellness, Dr the Hon. Christopher Tufton, the hospital’s advancement is important and will minimise premature deaths in children. He noted that the healthcare system is being strengthened to ensure that more of the ministry’s technical personnel visit homes and work with current and prospective parents. “We need that prompting in order to get back on track, so that those who choose to have children do so in a manner that is safe for themselves and safe for the children,” the Minister said.

Consultant in Paediatrics and Gynaecology at the hospital, Dr Donna-Marie Gray-Henry, stated that prior to the certification, all categories of the institution’s staff had to be trained in the proper growth of babies. “The Mandeville Hospital will continue to evolve into a state-of-the-art maternity unit. We will continue to improve the infrastructure, the equipment and manpower, and it is more than accreditation, it is a commitment to provide excellent patient care,” Dr Gray-Henry said.

A facility that is designated “baby-friendly’ implements the 10 steps to successful breastfeeding. Among them are carrying out prenatal care in keeping with maternal and child health and hospital norms; early detection and referral of high-risk pregnancies and obstetric emergencies; establishing and maintaining a system of quality assurance; providing appropriate health education for pregnant women; promoting and providing family planning services; teaching women proper self-examination techniques with appropriate follow-up for early detection of breast cancer; and encouraging mothers to do routine tests to facilitate early detection of cancers of the reproductive system.

The initiative was launched in 1991 by the World Health Organization (WHO) and UNICEF.

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