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Three more hospitals recognised as centers of excellence for breastfeeding

Update: August, 07/2020 - 16:52
The Đầm Dơi General Hospital is recognised as a Center of Excellence for Breastfeeding at a ceremony on August 6. — Photo Alive & Thrive

HÀ NỘI — Three more hospitals, including the Đầm Dơi General Hospital, the Cà Mau Obstetrics & Paediatrics Hospital in Cà Mau Province and the Quảng Nam General Regional Hospital in Quảng Nam Province, were recognised as Centers of Excellence for Breastfeeding on Thursday.

The three hospitals have brought the country’s total number of medical facilities being given the Centers of Excellence for Breastfeeding designation to 13, including eight central and provincial hospitals and five district hospitals. They all have been recognised for their tremendous efforts in creating and maintaining breastfeeding-friendly environments for mothers and newborns.

The three hospitals achieved rates of skin-to-skin contact and early initiation of breastfeeding of over 85 per cent after one year of executing the initiative, according to a survey conducted during the second quarter of 2020 by the health sector. Further, all mothers received breastfeeding counseling and no cases of Breast milk Substitute Marketing Code violence have been reported.

“Close contact and early, exclusive breastfeeding help a baby to thrive,” said Roger Mathisen, Regional Director of Alive & Thrive. “We must remember that babies exclusively breastfed are 14 times more likely to survive than babies that are not.”

The figures are particularly important during the COVID-19 pandemic, he added. “We highly encourage hospitals to maintain essential newborn care practices during the pandemic. The coronavirus has not been found in breast milk, and transmission via breastfeeding has not been demonstrated. The unparalleled benefits of breastfeeding outweigh any potential risk of transmission.”

Dr. Mai Văn Mười, Director of Quảng Nam Department of Health, said that the pandemic had not adversely affected proper care of newborns.

“Throughout the peak of COVID-19 (from February to April, 2020), hospitals in Quảng Nam that participate in the initiative maintained proper early essential newborn care and encourage direct breastfeeding,” Mười said. “For the baby’s benefits, these practices will be continuing during the pandemic.”

Quảng Nam General Regional Hospital also implements the friendly childbirth rooms in order to deliver a positive experience to mothers. “Almost nine out of ten pregnant women would choose a family member to accompany her during childbirth,” said Dr. Nguyễn Tải, Director of the hospital. “The companion of choice would reduce the mother’s anxiety, stress and childbirth pain, shorten the time of labor and support the mother to early breastfeed.”

The rate of early and exclusive breastfeeding in Cà Mau Obstetrics & Pediatrics Hospital remains high at over 95 per cent in the second quarter of 2020. Dr. Võ Thành Lợi, Hospital Director said: “Acknowledging the importance of continuous skin-to-skin contact for at least 90 minutes after birth is the key to effectively support breastfeeding. This rate has reached 88 per cent now.”

According to the Cost of Not Breastfeeding study by Alive & Thrive, the annual economic loss is close to US$2 billion in Việt Nam. Households also spend around 12 per cent of their monthly income to buy infant formula.

Đầm Dơi is a coastal district in Cà Mau Province with most of the population in rural areas, the average monthly salary is not high, at around VNĐ3.8 million ($164) per month.

“By supporting and protecting breastfeeding, hospitals aren’t just benefiting the health of mother and child but also relieve the economic burden for families from buying breast milk substitute products and hospitalisation,” Dr. Dương Quốc Thông, Director of Đầm Dơi General Hospital said.

Director of Cà Mau Department of Health Nguyễn Văn Dũng said that Cà Mau set a goal to have the five hospitals participating in the Center of Excellence for Breastfeeding Initiative designated by 2020.

If all 28 hospitals which have signed up to the initiative become Centers of Excellence for Breastfeeding, around 235,000 babies, equivalent to 17 per cent newborns in Việt Nam, will reap the benefits of breastfeeding. — VNS

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