Two central hospitals awarded center of excellence for breastfeeding

October 03, 2019 - 17:09

Two hospitals have been named as Centers of Excellence for Breastfeeding. The awards were given by Alive & Thrive – a global nutrition initiative – and the Đà Nẵng and Quảng Nam health departments.

Parents use skin-to-skin contact techniques at the Đà Nẵng Hospital for Women and Children. — Photo courtesy of Alive & Thrive

HÀ NỘI — Đà Nẵng Hospital for Women and Children and Quảng Nam General Hospital have been named as Center of Excellence for Breastfeeding.

The awards were given by Alive & Thirve – a global nutrition initiative – and the Đà Nẵng and Quảng Nam health departments.

The hospitals received the prize for their efforts in creating and maintaining breastfeeding-friendly environments for newborns and mothers.

“90 per cent of mothers exclusively breastfeed their babies during their hospital stay in the Đà Nẵng Hospital for Women and Children,” said director of the health ministry’s Maternal and Child Health Department Nguyễn Đức Vinh.

“I acknowledged the hospital’s enormous effort to achieve this especially by ensuring skin-to-skin contact between the mother and child for the first 90 minutes after birth.

“Quảng Nam General Hospital deserved the designation, given their concerted efforts and dedication to following essential newborn care procedures among mothers and children, and supporting breastfeeding.”

At the Đà Nẵng Hospital, skin-to-skin contact is not exclusive to healthy babies, but also provided to preterm, underweight or sick children with jaundice, respiratory problems through Kangaroo Mother Care. 

The hospital's Deputy Director Nguyễn Sơn said: “Pre-term or underweight newborns that receive skin-to-skin contact for 20 hours a day from their mothers or relatives see a 40 per cent reduced mortality rate, 44 per cent reduced infection rate, 66 per cent reduced hypothermia rate, and 20 per cent increase in exclusive breastfeeding rates after hospitalisation.”

At the Quảng Nam General Hospital, mothers can choose anyone to support them during birth, if desired. This companion can support the mothers to breathe properly, motivate the mothers, comfort them with backrubs and cloths, and guide them to change postures during labour.

“We believe a successful birth delivery goes beyond ensuring the safety of mothers and children to include a relatively pain- and stress-free experience for the mother as much as possible, and breastfeeding within 90 minutes after birth,” said Dr. Nguyễn Thị Kiều Trinh, head of the Obstetrics Department.

“In addition to medical interventions, emotional and psychological support is crucial to achieving this.”

The aim of the A&T initiative is to prevent illness and ensure healthy growth and development through improved maternal nutrition, breastfeeding and complementary feeding practice.

A&T regional director, Roger Mathisen, said: “I strongly believe the Quảng Nam Provincial General Hospital will serve as a role model for other health facilities in early essential newborn care and breastfeeding support. Their birth companion of choice model is a brilliant step toward ensuring a positive delivery experience for mothers.”

According to the World Health Organisation, babies that receive prolonged skin-to-skin contact are three times more likely to breastfeed during the first 90 minutes.

The statistics observed in the Đà Nẵng Hospital for Women and Children in 2018 have reinforced this evidence: exclusive breastfeeding rates rose by three times thanks to 90 minutes of uninterrupted skin-to-skin contact.

Prolonged skin-to-skin contact without interruptions for immunisations or weight measurements also helped reduce neonatal mortality by 15 per cent, neonatal intensive care by 30 per cent and the need for antibiotics by 50 per cent.

In a survey conducted by the Ministry of Health with 3,500 mothers after birth, only 39 per cent had skin-to-skin contact for 90 minutes, and 30 per cent mothers could not breastfeed their newborns within 90 minutes after birth.

The Center of Excellence for Breastfeeding Initiative has been developed and implemented by Việt Nam’s Ministry of Health, provincial Departments of Health with support from Alive & Thrive and Irish Aid, encouraging health facilities to create and maintain breastfeeding-friendly environments by practicing early essential newborn care and supporting breastfeeding.

Four hospitals nationwide have been given the awards since August. — VNS