Public Health Communications Specialist
Ministry of Health/Social Development
Peebles Hospital is one step closer to becoming “baby friendly” following the conclusion of a training workshop organised by the Ministry of Health and Social Development and the BVI Health Services Authority.
The workshop was held on April 20 to 23 and was designed to build the capacity of persons trained with the necessary skills to help implement the “Baby Friendly” Hospital Initiative.
Public Health Officer and Focal Point for Nutrition, Mrs. Dawn Leonard stated, “As part of the workshop we were able to train eight breastfeeding trainers/counselors. These persons are now qualified to train other professionals as breastfeeding counselors/advocates for nursing mothers and also serve as lactation educators.”
The course featured topics such as advanced breastfeeding triage, sore nipples, low milk supply and breastfeeding management. Participants also received hands on training sessions with local breastfeeding mothers and pregnant women.
“Our goal is to create a safer and more encouraging environment for breastfeeding mothers. Good infant nutrition is one of the best starts that a mother can give to her baby.” Mrs. Leonard stated.
The World Health Organisation recommends that babies are to be exclusively breastfed for the first six months of life, as they would less likely suffer from many chronic conditions.
Mrs. Leonard further added that before Peebles Hospital can become “baby friendly” it is a requirement that the institution comply with the United Nation’s Children Fund’s (UNICEF) 10 Step Strategies. She said the hospital is well on its way to achieving this certification as four of the 10 steps have been fully completed while the remaining six steps are in the process or have been partially completed.
The workshop was a collaboration between the Ministry of Health and Social Development, the Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA), BVI Health Services Authority, ZONTA BVI and the BVI Red Cross.
The “Baby Friendly Hospital Initiative” is a global programme created through the combined efforts of the World Health Organisation (WHO) and United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF). The aim is to improve the care of pregnant women, mothers and new-borns at health facilities around the world.