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PAHO rep: Get on board with breastfeeding

ALEX DOWNES, [email protected]

PAHO rep: Get on board with breastfeeding

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BARBADIAN MOTHERS have been reminded of the importance of breastfeeding their children within half-hour of birth, and for the first six months of their life.

It has come from representative of the Pan-American Health Organisation (PAHO) and the World Health Organisation (WHO), Dr Godfrey Xuereb, who said employers also had to play a role in this area.

Speaking at a Press conference for the Queen Elizabeth Hospital’s (QEH) recertification of the Baby Friendly Hospital Initiative on Tuesday, he said by doing this, mothers could reduce the occurrence of non-communicable diseases in their children, leading to a healthier life.

“We see a lot of mothers starting when they get in the hospital and then stopping early on. This is one of the key issues,” Xuereb said.

“All employers have to have a keyrole in supporting breastfeeding with a designation of areas in workplaces where mothers can store their expressed milk.

“So I encourage particularly employers, but all of society. There is nothing wrong with a mother breastfeeding on public transport, in a waiting area, in her workplace. There is nothing wrong with a mother breastfeeding anywhere,” he added.

The Baby Friendly Hospital Initiative is a global programme which promotes maternity services, enabling mothers to breastfeed their children through several steps.

Barbados originally had the designation in 1998 and then again in 2002, but lost its certification as a result of what Xuereb deemed to be “lapses”.


Special programme


In a bid to regain certification, which is done every two years, the QEH launched a special programme to focuson excellence and quality witha hospital-wide perspective.

This was coupled with a revision in the hospital’s breastfeeding policy,as well as the development of a new QEH Discharge Information Bookletto help patients understand the importance of breastfeeding after they leave the hospital.

Meanwhile, Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Health, Gabrielle Springer, said the ministry assisted the recertification by, among other things, appointing a national breastfeeding coordinator and establishing a breastfeeding committee. (AD)