By Lorraine Anyango.
Jaramogi Oginga Odinga Teaching and Referral Hospital (JOOTRH) is working towards being Baby-Friendly Hospitals (BFH) in Kenya.
This move is a follow-up after the Kisumu County Nutrition Coordinator, Reproductive Health Coordinator, pediatrician and lead Nutritionist from JOOTRH were privileged to be among 80 officers across the country to be trained on Baby Friendly Hospital Initiatives (BFHI).
The BFH initiative is a strategy aimed at supporting, protecting, and promoting breastfeeding in hospitals through the implementation of the 10 steps to successful breastfeeding in facilities that offer maternal and newborn services.
The BFHI is a key component of quality maternal and newborn care, the training was supported by UNICEF and the National Government.
The TOTs trained from Kisumu then embarked on training about 30 unit heads at JOOTRH equipping them with the knowledge to enable them to carry out CMEs in their specific departments.
This new move is expected to remedy situations such as findings from the current KDHS that indicate that 49% of infants in Kenya between the ages of 6 months to 23 months consume sweet beverages while 26 % of children are fed unhealthy food.It will aslo remedy low early initiation to breastfeeding that is low in Kisumu County at 22 percentage ( KDHS, 2022)
At the facility level, the health workers trained are expected to engage in antenatal conversation about breastfeeding, support in implementing immediate and uninterrupted skin-to-skin, facilitate breastfeeding within the first hour, according to cues as well as carry out conversations with the mother about how breastfeeding works.
They are also expected to assist the mother in getting her baby to latch, help a mother respond to feeding cues, help a mother manage milk expression, and assist a mother in breastfeeding a low-birth-weight or sick baby.
The unit leads were issued with charts, the Maternal Infant and Young Child Nutrition (MIYCN) 2019 policy document, and MIYCN counseling cards.
The global goal of the MIYCN Strategy is to improve the nutritional status, growth and development, health, and survival of infants and young children through optimal feeding practices.
The strategy is backed by a vision of a nation of well-nourished and healthy mothers, infants, and young children and its mission is to contribute towards improved health, nutritional status, development, and survival of mothers, infants, and young children in Kenya.
The training encompassed conversations on BFHI, the importance of exclusive and continued breastfeeding, WHO/UNICEF Global and national Strategy for MIYCN as well as the current breastfeeding practices at the national and county levels.
To realize sustainable exclusive breastfeeding the course recommended immediate and uninterrupted skin-to-skin contact from birth and initiation of breastfeeding within the first hour of life, exclusive breastfeeding – the infant only receives breast milk, and no other foods or fluids, breastfeeding responsively – that is, as early and often, and as long as the baby wants, day and night and counseling mothers on the risk of feeding bottles, teats or pacifiers, and cups with spouts.
The healthcare workers were trained to gain competencies in implementing The Breast Milk Substitutes (Regulations and Control) BMS, Act, 2012, and its regulations 2022 in a health facility.
The ACT provides appropriate marketing and distribution of breast milk substitutes, safe and adequate nutrition for infants through the promotion of breastfeeding, and Proper use of breast milk substitutes, where necessary, and for connected purposes.
They also gained skills to explain a facility’s infant feeding policies and monitoring systems, learn listening and learning skills whenever engaging in a conversation with a mother as well as use the skills for building confidence and giving support whenever engaging in a conversation with mothers
The BFH facilities are also expected to carry out monitoring and data management and under this integration of recording and monitoring of the clinical practices related to breastfeeding into their quality-improvement/monitoring systems.
The two indicators considered critical for term babies are early initiation and exclusive breastfeeding. All facilities are expected to routinely track these indicators for each mother-infant pair and record information on these sentinel indicators should be incorporated into the medical charts and collated into relevant registers.