Women’s Hospital initiative promotes breastfeeding
December 14 2014 11:03 PM

The Maternity Unit at Women’s Hospital, a member of Hamad Medical Corporation (HMC), has successfully implemented an educational initiative aimed at promoting breastfeeding in the hospital.

Titled the ‘Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative’, the project focuses on adopting best practices in breastfeeding with the aim of promoting wellness of the mother and her baby. This includes creating a supportive hospital environment for patients with the availability of motivated, educated and highly-skilled staff.

The initiative is led by Dr Amal Abu Bakr, chairperson of the Breastfeeding Committee and lactation consultant at Women’s Hospital, with the support of a multi-disciplinary team, including senior management, specialists and nurses from the hospital.

Dr Abu Bakr explained that breastfeeding is an ideal and complete form of nutrition for babies and young children up to the age of two. “Breastfeeding ensures optimum growth and development for babies and plays a very important role in developing the baby’s immune system, as it has many anti-infective and anti-inflammatory properties.”

Commenting on the importance of the project, Dr Abu Bakr highlighted: “Breastfeeding has many evidence-based scientific health advantages for babies, such as prevention against acute infections like pneumonia and chronic illnesses like cardiovascular disease and diabetes. It is also very beneficial to women’s health, as it reduces the risk of diseases like anaemia, breast and ovarian cancer and osteoporosis, among other diseases.”

Under the initiative, effective 20-hour training courses recognised by the World Health Organisation (WHO) and United Nations Children’s Fund (Unicef) were completed by doctors, nurses and other service providers.

Lectures covering a number of breastfeeding topics have also been regularly organised for staff at the hospital. Moreover, mothers and their families are encouraged to participate in group meetings and discussions with maternity services’ staff to learn about new interventions and receive educational materials in Arabic and English.

New breastfeeding support services have also been introduced under the project, such as the Lactation Management Clinic at the Outpatient Department, for mothers who encounter difficulty in breastfeeding after they have left the hospital.

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