DUBAI, 29th January, 2017 (WAM) — The Dubai Health Authority (DHA) celebrated on Sunday the Baby Friendly Hospital status given to Dubai Hospital by the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) at a ceremony held at the hospital.
The Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative (BFHI), launched in 1991, is a global program sponsored by the World Health Organisation (WHO) and UNICEF to encourage and implement practices that protect, promote and support breastfeeding. This global effort ensures that all maternities whether free standing or in a hospital, become centres of breastfeeding support. In order to gain recognition as a Baby-Friendly Hospital, healthcare facilities must implement 10 specific steps to support successful breastfeeding some of which include formal training, educating mothers-to-be and establishing lactation clinics to encourage more women to breastfeed their babies.
Dr Abdulrahman Al Jassmi, CEO of Dubai Hospital, highlighted the hospital’s dedicated efforts and its strategies to promote exclusive breastfeeding. He also praised the role played by UNICEF in raising awareness among mothers about the benefits of breastfeeding, which is one of the most effective means to protect babies against various diseases.
Dr Al Jassmi said:”We are honored to receive this title as it is a globally recognized symbol of world-class maternity care. This title is a gold standard for hospitals and we are proud to have achieved this by fulfilling the rigorous process and highest standards of care demanded by BFHI. At Dubai hospital we have developed several policies for breastfeeding support in line with international standards set by WHO and UNICEF and we are proud that our efforts have been recognised.”
He added the measures have led to high rates of breastfeeding among women who deliver at DHA hospitals.
According to Dubai Hospital’s statistics, in 2014, of the total number of women who delivered babies at Dubai hospital, 91.8 per opted for exclusive breastfeeding, 8.10 opted for mixed feeding due to medical reasons and less than one per cent of women opted for mixed feeding for non-medical reasons.
The statistics point out to an excellent breastfeeding promotion strategy that the hospital has in place.
The hospital initiates breastfeeding within an hour of birth unless there is a medical complication that prevents this. Mothers are encouraged to continue exclusive breastfeeding up to minimum six months as it is essential for the baby’s growth and immunity.
Breastfeeding support is provided right from the pregnancy stage; physicians and nurses conduct breastfeeding education right from preconception visits and continue doing so through prenatal care, delivery and postpartum care.
The hospital also has a breastfeeding helpline so that mothers facing breastfeeding difficulties.