Three additional ‘baby-friendly’ hospitals in Jamaica

Three more hospitals in the public health system have been officially certified by the Ministry of Health and Wellness as ‘Baby-Friendly’, under the Ministry’s National Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative (BFHI).

Health and Wellness Minister, Dr Christopher Tufton (left), holds seven-month-old Sherina Grant, at the National Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative (BFHI) certification ceremony and launch of the National Infant and Young Child Feeding Network, on Tuesday, at the Courtleigh Auditorium in New Kingston. Enjoying the moment are (from second left) Country Representative, United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), Mariko Kagoshima; Sherina’s mother, Patrina Rowe; and Food and Nutrition Advisor, Pan American Health Organization (PAHO), Audrey Morris.

These are Lionel Town Hospital in Clarendon, Port Antonio Hospital in Portland and Port Maria Hospital, St Mary. There are now five baby-friendly public health facilities.

The other two are the Alexandria Community Hospital in St Ann, which was certified in April 2018, and the Princess Margaret Hospital in St Thomas, which received certification in September 2015.

Continued breastfeeding

The initiative aims to give every baby the best start in life by creating a healthcare environment that supports breastfeeding. It provides 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.

In his address at the National BFHI certification ceremony and launch of the National Infant and Young Child Feeding Network on Tuesday (December 3), at the Courtleigh Auditorium in New Kingston, Health and Wellness Minister, Dr Christopher Tufton, commended the nurses and staff of the certified institutions for their tireless work in meeting the standards of certification set out by the World Health Organization (WHO).

“The nurses and staff of these institutions work tirelessly for months, sometimes years to meet the standards of certification. The Ministry of Health and Wellness has charged our health facilities, which are the immediate and optimal service providers for prenatal and postpartum care, to manipulate their processes and aesthetics to make the facility baby-friendly, being guided by outlines stipulated by the World Health Organization,” the Minister said.

Tufton said 14 other hospitals are currently working to join these five facilities as baby-friendly certified by the Ministry of Health and Wellness.