Mon | Oct 2, 2023

Mandeville Regional Hospital now certified baby friendly

Published:Tuesday | August 23, 2022 | 8:14 AM
Minister of Health and Wellness, Dr Christopher Tufton (third left), along with Minister of State in the Ministry, Juliet Cuthbert-Flynn (second left), and Director of the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO), Dr Carissa Etienne (third right), celebrate the accreditation of the Mandeville Regional Hospital as a baby friendly hospital during a recent ceremony at the institution in Manchester. Others (from left) are United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), Representative in Jamaica, Mariko Kagoshima; Director of Nursing Services at the hospital, Saidie Williams-Allen; and Chief Executive Officer of the hospital, Alwyn Miller. - Contributed photo.

Children born or cared for at the Mandeville Regional Hospital in Manchester are in for the best developmental support, with the institution now internationally certified as a baby friendly hospital.

To be baby friendly means giving every baby the best start in life by creating a healthcare environment that supports breastfeeding.

This is in keeping with the global campaign established to prepare health systems and mobilise healthcare workers to protect, promote and support breastfeeding.

The initiative is also part of the Government's thrust to provide 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.

A baby-friendly healthcare facility also assists mothers who are not breastfeeding to make informed decisions and care for their babies in the best possible way.

Director of the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO), Dr Carissa Etienne, indicated that the hospital's milestone is not easy to attain.

She emphasised that the team approach used during the preparatory stage must be part of the daily service delivery so that the institution can remain certified.

“I hope that this team approach also materialises in the rest of the work that you have to do,” the director stated, while addressing a recent ceremony at the institution to celebrate the certification.

She also lauded the Government for continued investments in the health sector, noting that some countries have made budgetary cutbacks in this area.

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 standard and has created a healthcare environment that prioritises our children.”

For Minister of Health and Wellness, Dr 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,” he 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,” Gray-Henry told the audience.

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, and providing appropriate health education for pregnant women.

Also included are 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.

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