Seven central hospitals to be made mother-and-baby-friendlyThe Baby-friendly Hospital Initiative was launched in 1991 by the World Health Organization and the United Nations Children’s Fund.
Immunisation section at the Family Welfare Division under the Department of Health Services has been working toward making seven central hospitals mother-and-baby-friendly.
The move, which aims to promote maternal and child health, encourage breastfeeding practices and improve maternity care, will be implemented in the Paropakar Maternity and Women's Hospital, Patan Hospital, Tribhuvan University Teaching Hospital, Koshi Hospital, Makwanpur Hospital and two others.
"We are training health workers including gynaecologists, paediatricians, nurses and hospital management officials," Kedar Prasad Parajuli, chief of the section, told the Post. "We will accredit those hospitals once they fulfil the requirements."
Ensuring evidence-based care for both mother and child before and after birth is among the requirements for the hospitals to be accredited as being mother-and-baby-friendly.
Hospitals need to have a written breastfeeding policy, should train all healthcare staff on the skills required to implement the breastfeeding policy, educate all pregnant women on the importance of exclusive breastfeeding and help the mother start breastfeeding within one hour of the childbirth, as per the World Health Organization’s protocol.
Hospital staffers should teach mothers about the proper techniques of breastfeeding, even if they are not with their babies; not allow them to give their babies any food except their milk unless medically required.
All expecting mothers should get emotional support from those she chooses, implement care that is respectful of the beliefs and values of each woman's ethnicity and religion, and give a labouring woman the freedom to move around as she desires unless a specific position is required due to a complication, or any other reason. Mothers should also be encouraged to touch, hold and breastfeed their babies, even if they are sick or premature.
Parajuli said his office would provide a form to all hospitals in which they will give them marks as per their self-evaluation. When the hospitals claim they had fulfilled all the requirements, the section will evaluate accreditation.
To achieve mother- and baby-friendly status, hospitals must demonstrate at least 75 percent exclusive breastfeeding rate among mothers at the time of their discharge.
"Aim of the programme is to minimise the risk of maternal and child deaths, promote institutional delivery and promote the importance of breastfeeding," he added. "The training will also help lessen the complaints about the behaviour of the health workers by mothers."
Hospital staffers, including nurses working in labour rooms are being told to behave properly with women undergoing labour pain.
According to Parajuli, women, who gave birth to babies at the state-run health facilities, often have a wrong impression about the healthcare providers. Some women also complain about the scoldings by the nurses when they make noises due to intense labour pain.
The Baby-friendly Hospital Initiative (BFHI) was launched in 1991 by the World Health Organization and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF).