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National Women’s receives international award

Media statement from the NZ Breast feeding authority

19th March 2008

National Women’s receives internationally recognised award: WHO/UNICEF Baby Friendly Hospital accreditation.

New Zealand’s largest maternity service, Auckland District Health Board’s (ADHB) National Women’s Maternity Service was awarded Baby Friendly accreditation on Monday 17th March.

The award was presented to Garry Smith, CEO, Kay Hyman, Women’s Health Manager, and Ann Yates, Midwifery Leader, by World Health Organisation (WHO) representative, Mrs Saadeh, and Julie Stufkens, Executive Officer for the New Zealand Breastfeeding Authority.

“The World Health Organization (WHO) and UNICEF launched the Baby Friendly Hospital Initiative in 1991, to ensure that all hospitals become centres of breastfeeding support.

“The team at ADHB’s Maternity service have done a brilliant job in becoming a centre for excellence where the practitioners who provide care for women and babies adopt practices that aim to protect, promote and support exclusive breastfeeding from birth. At the same time, they have ensured that women who choose not to breastfeed are supported in their decision and provided with unbiased information and advice,” says Mrs Saadeh from the WHO.

The WHO/UNICEF Global Assessment tool forms the basis of the assessment and accreditation procedure in all countries.

She says that in areas where there were Baby Friendly Hospitals it has been shown to make a difference to the breastfeeding rates, and infant and child health have improved.

The New Zealand Breastfeeding Authority administers the Baby Friendly Hospital Initiative.

“We congratulate the management and staff, especially those who had worked on the project team over the last eight years to make the Baby Friendly Hospital initiative a reality,” says Mrs Stufkens, Executive Officer, NZ Breastfeeding Authority.

A Baby Friendly Hospital (BFH) is a health care facility where the practitioners who provide care for women and babies adopt practices that aim to protect, promote and support exclusive breastfeeding from birth.

The National Women’s maternity service has nearly 8,000 births a year and met the standards: by implementation of the Ten Steps to Successful Breastfeeding, compliance with the International Code of Marketing of Breast-milk Substitutes and having exclusive breastfeeding rates at discharge of more than 75%. The exclusive breastfeeding rates at discharge have risen in the service by nearly 80% in the last 8 years.

This has been achieved by education for every member of staff from, doctors, midwifes, and nurses to administration and support staff, and orientation to the policy for every new member of staff.

The majority of maternity facilities in NZ have adopted the Baby friendly standard and are now accredited. The Ministry of Health requires that all maternity facilities meet this standard.


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