Mediclinic City Hospital was recently awarded baby friendly accreditation from the Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative (BFHI), becoming the first private hospital in Dubai to receive such recognition.
BFHI is a global programme which was initiated by the World Health Organization (WHO) and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) in 1991. The aim of BFHI is to implement practices that protect, promote and support breastfeeding. This programme is known to improve the health and wellbeing of all women and babies by providing high quality maternity services to enable mothers to breastfeed successfully.
The BFHI programme is embodied in the “Ten Steps to Successful Breastfeeding”, including the “International Code of Marketing of Breast-milk Substitutes”. Mediclinic City Hospital implements and meets the criteria of BFHI as per WHO and UNICEF guidelines updated in 2018. All mothers and babies at the hospital are well supported under this project regardless of their choice of feeding method.
Evidence-based research has revealed many health benefits of breastfeeding for both mother and baby. Breastfeeding provides a complete and ideal source of nutrition for infants up to six months of age and continues to be important after the first six months after other foods are introduced. It helps babies to develop their immune system and reduces their less risk of developing diseases. Research has also shown that it can improve the baby’s intelligence and brain development. Similarly, breastfeeding can also help mothers with their physical and psychological health.
“Receiving baby friendly accreditation for Mediclinic City hospital is a brilliant achievement. It recognises all the hard work and effort that has been put in across the hospital over the last five years to implement practices that protect, promote and support breastfeeding,” said Mr. Matthew Dronsfield, Hospital Director, Mediclinic City Hospital.
“The idea of Baby Friendly is to have highly educated staff that can empower mothers by providing the knowledge, skills and confidence they need to make the best decision about how to feed their babies,” said Zahra Mokhber, Lactation Consultant and BFHI coordinator, Mediclinic City Hospital. “The hospital set this policy as a guideline and started widespread training of the all staff who deal with pregnant women, mothers and babies, particularly in Maternity, Postnatal, NICU and Paediatric wards, as well as the obstetrics/gynaecology and paediatric outpatient clinics. The education for mothers starts with communication on the importance of breastfeeding for expectant mothers, continues all through their baby’s birth, hospital stay and follow-up in the lactation clinic after they go home.”
Due to its commitment to excellence, the figures show that more than 95% of new mothers at Mediclinic City Hospital initiate skin to skin and breastfeeding within the first hour after birth and chose to breastfeed exclusively. All healthy babies are kept with their mothers in the same room during their stay in the hospital and encouraged to continue rooming-in at home for the first year of life, as globally recommended.
Under our Mediclinic Baby programme, Mediclinic City Hospital also offers free OPD lactation consultation clinics for new mothers who need additional support after discharge.